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ANCIENT,   CURIOUS  AND  FAMOUS 
WILLS 


"A  truce  to  jesting;  let  me  have  a  confessor 
to  confess  me,  and  a  notary  to  make  my  will." 


ANCIENT 

CURIOUS  AND   FAMOUS 

WILLS 


BY 


VIRGIL   M.   HARRIS 

MEMBER    OF    THE    SAINT    LOUIS    BAR,    LECTURER    ON    WILLS    IN    THE 

SAINT    LOUIS    UNIVERSITY    INSTITUTE    OF   LAW,   TRUST    OFFICER 

OF    THE    MERCANTILE    TRUST    COMPANY    OF    SAINT    LOUIS, 

MISSOURI,    AND    AUTHOR    OF    "  THE    TRUST    COMPANY 

OF    TO-DAY,"    ETC. 


'  The  boast  of  heraldry,  the  pomp  of  power. 

And  all  that  beauty,  all  that  wealth  e'er  gave. 

Await  alike  the  inevitable  hour : 

The  paths  of  glory  lead  but  to  the  grave." 


BOSTON 

LITTLE    BROWN,  AND   COMPANY 

1911 


Copyright,  1911, 
By  Little,  Brown,  and  Company. 

All  rights  reserved. 


Printed  by  C.  H.  Simonds  CSi.  Co. 
Boston,  U.  S.  A. 


TO  THE  LATE 

HONORABLE  JACOB  KLEIN 

OF 

SAINT  LOUIS,  MISSOURI 

WHOSE   LONG   AND   USEFUL   CAREER   AT   THE   BAR 

AND   WHOSE   STERLING   CHARACTER,   LEARNING   AND  WISDOM 

ENTITLE   HIS   NAME   TO   A   PLACE   IN   THE   GALAXY 

OF    GREAT   AMERICAN   LAWYERS 

THIS   BOOK 
IS   AFFECTIONATELY   INSCRIBED 


m.5Qi55 


PREFACE 

"Let's  choose  executors,  and  talk  of  wills; 

And  yet  not  so,  —  for  what  can  we  bequeath. 
Save  our  deposed  bodies  to  the  ground  ?  " 

An  addition  to  the  fifteen  millions  of  books  of  which  the  world 
is  now  possessed  demands  an  explanation,  if  not  an  apology. 

In  my  experience  as  a  lecturer  on  the  Law  of  Wills,  and  in  the 
practical  administration  of  estates  controlled  by  wills,  in  which 
I  have  been  engaged  for  many  years,  it  has  been  a  subject  of  sur- 
prise to  me  that  no  one  in  America  has  seriously  undertaken  the 
collection  of  curious  and  famous  wills.  It  has  occurred  to  me  that 
I  might  discharge  the  duty  which  every  lawyer  owes  to  his  profes- 
sion by  making  such  a  collection.  The  subject  is  very  compre- 
hensive, and  the  material  required  has  been  obtained,  in  most 
instances,  from  the  original  records  of  Probate  and  Court  Registers 
in  various  parts  of  the  world,  by  exhaustive  research  in  libraries 
at  home  and  abroad,  and  by  reference  to  magazine  and  newspaper 
files. 

It  has  been  my  effort  to  select  from  this  collection  the  wills 
which  appeared  most  interesting  and  entertaining.  I  recognize 
quite  fully  the  wisdom  of  Lord  Coke's  remark,  that 

"  Wills,  and  the  construction  of  them,  do  more  perplex  a  man 
than  any  other  learning ;  and  to  make  a  certain  construction  of 
them  exceedeth  jurisprudentum  artem." 

Perplexity  has  likewise  beset  me  in  an  attempt  to  classify  the 
wills  in  this  work  and  place  them  under  convenient  and  appro- 
priate headings. 

It  must  not  be  forgotten  that  while  all  men  may  make  wills, 
and  should  do  so,  yet  all  men  have  not  done  so.  It  is  a  remark- 
able trait  in  human  character  that  wills  are  for  the  most  part 
postponed,  and  that  many  men  of  wealth  and  distinction  die 
without  them.  So  great  a  man  as  Abraham  Lincoln  left  no  will, 
though  he  had  a  considerable  estate.  General  Grant  also  died 
intestate,  but  his  estate  was  small.     It  is  to  be  regretted  that  men 


viii  PREFACE 

fail  to  perform  the  duty  of  making  their  wills,  as  history  and  expe- 
rience demonstrate  that  this  neglect  has  often  resulted  in  a  dis- 
astrous train  of  consequences. 

The  subject  of  Wills  is  not  so  prosaic  as  might  be  supposed ; 
in  fact,  there  are  few  subjects  of  more  general  interest.  Wills 
reflect,  as  a  mirror,  the  customs  and  habits  of  the  times  when 
written,  as  well  as  the  characters  of  the  writers. 

Our  earthly  possessions  are,  after  all,  but  life-holdings,  and  the 
grace  with  which  we  part  with  them  at  the  end  of  life's  journey 
shows  the  heart  in  its  least  disguised  form.  The  moment  of  will- 
writing  is  a  solemn  one.  The  insight  we  get  into  the  character 
of  the  testator  is  genuine  and  unvarnished.  Property  does  not 
always  bring  with  it  comfort  and  happiness,  and  those  who  have 
to  deal  with  wills  find  that  it  is  frequently  as  diflScult  to  dispose 
of  one's  possessions  as  it  is  to  acquire  them. 

In  this  work,  it  has  been  deemed  inadvisable  to  cite  many  authori- 
ties. The  author  has  experienced  too  much  embarrassment  in  his 
researches  to  ask  others  to  follow  in  his  footsteps.  The  wills  found 
in  these  pages  have  been  conscientiously  copied  and  compared ; 
in  many  cases,  they  have  been  obtained  in  places  not  easily 
accessible  to  the  average  reader.  A  number  of  wills  set  forth 
have  been  abridged,  where  found  to  be  too  voluminous  in  their 
entirety ;  and,  in  some  instances,  parts  which  were  not  of  general 
interest  have  been  omitted. 

The  wills  have  not  been  created  by  the  author,  but  have  been 
taken  from  trustworthy  sources ;  some  of  them  have  appeared 
in  English  works,  but  very  few  in  American  publications. 

I  desire  to  acknowledge  my  obligations  for  material  assistance, 
particularly  to  the  late  Hon.  Jacob  Klein  of  Saint  Louis,  Mr.  John 
Marshall  Gest  of  Philadelphia,  Mr.  Daniel  Remsen  of  New  York, 
Messrs.  Harper  &  Brothers  of  New  York,  the  Editors  of  the 
"  Green  Bag  "  of  Boston  and  other  legal  publications,  and  to  the 
valuable  works  of  Mr.  Proffatt,  Mr.  Tegg,  Julia  Clara  Byrne, 
Mr.  Nicholas  and  Mr.  Nichols. 

VIRGIL  M.  HARRIS. 

Saint  Louis,  Missouri, 
March  1,  1911. 


CONTENTS 

PAOB 

Introduction xi 

CHAPTER  I 

The  Importance  of  the  Last  Will  and  Testament      .        1 

CHAPTER  II 
Ancient  Wills 10 

CHAPTER  III 
Wills  in  Fiction  and  Poetry 49 

CHAPTER  IV 

Curious  Wills 73 

1.  Relating  to  Husbands,  Wives,  and  Children      .         .  73 

2.  Relating  to  Animals 90 

3.  Relating  to  Charity 102 

4.  Relating  to  Burial 122 

5.  Miscellaneous    . 158 

CHAPTER  V 

Testamentary  and  Kindred  Miscellany         .        ,        .     203 

CHAPTER  VI 

Wills  of  Famous  Foreigners 249 

CHAPTER  VII 
Wills  of  Famous  Americans     .         .        ,        •        •        .     324 

Index 455 


INTRODUCTION 

"  The  Moving  Finger  writes ;  and,  having  writ. 
Moves  on :  nor  all  your  Piety  nor  Wit 
Shall  lure  it  back  to  cancel  half  a  Line, 
Nor  all  your  Tears  wash  out  a  Word  of  it." 

The  history  of  wills  and  their  study,  as  reflecting  the  character 
of  the  makers,  and  in  throwing,  as  they  do,  a  strong  hght  on  the 
customs  and  manners  of  the  times  in  which  they  were  written,  are 
subjects  profoundly  interesting  both  to  the  lawyer  and  to  the  lay- 
man. 

Lord  Rosebery,  in  an  address  on  the  character  of  Byron,  said  : 

"I  will  go  a  step  further,  and  affirm  that  we  have  something  to 
be  grateful  for  even  in  the  weaknesses  of  men.  .  .  .  We  grope 
blindly  along  the  catacombs  of  the  world,  we  climb  the  dark  ladder 
of  life,  we  feel  our  way  to  futurity,  but  we  can  scarcely  see  an  inch 
around  or  before  us ;  we  stumble  and  falter  and  fall,  our  hands 
and  knees  are  bruised  and  sore,  and  we  look  up  for  light  and 
guidance.  .  .  .  And,  at  the  end,  man  is  reaped  —  the  product, 
not  of  good  alone,  but  of  evil ;  not  of  joy  alone,  but  of  sorrow  — 
perhaps  mellowed  and  ripened,  perhaps  stricken  and  withered  and 
sour.     How,  then,  shall  we  judge  any  one  ?  " 

Can  we  not  judge  a  man  by  his  will  ?  Does  not  such  an  instru- 
ment reflect  his  character,  his  nature,  and  his  eccentricities  ?  A 
writer  on  the  subject  of  Wills  says  : 

"So  surely  as  the  berry  indicates  the  soundness  of  the  root,  the 
flower  of  the  bulb,  so  does  man's  last  will  tell  of  the  goodness  or 
foulness  of  the  heart  which  conceived  it.  The  cankered  root  sends 
up  only  a  sickly  germ,  which  brings  forth  no  fruit  in  due  season ; 
whilst  the  wine  that  maketh  glad  the  heart  of  man,  the  oil  which 
maketh  him  a  cheerful  countenance,  and  the  bread  that  strengthens 
his  heart,  have  burst  from  roots  which  mildew  has  never  marred, 
nor  worm  fretted." 

Testamentary  dispositions  of  property  in  some  form  are  of  very 
ancient  origin ;  even  in  the  Biblical  period  we  find  the  statement  in 
Genesis  to  the  effect  that  Jacob  gave  to  Joseph  a  portion  above  his 


xu  INTRODUCTION 

brethren.  Solon  is  said  to  have  introduced  wills  into  Greece,  and 
there  is  good  reason  to  believe  that  wills  were  known  in  Egypt  ages 
before  they  were  used  in  Europe.  Charles  Dufresne  Du  Cange, 
a  most  learned  philological  writer  who  died  at  Paris  in  1688,  men- 
tions wills  written  on  bark  or  wood  in  the  seventh  century.  There 
are  historians  who  gravely  and  learnedly  assert  that  Adam  made 
a  will ;  that  Noah  also  left  one ;  and  that  Job  hkewise  made  testa- 
mentary disposition  of  his  all.  Roman  wills  were  sealed,  after 
they  had  been  securely  fastened  and  other  precautions  taken  against 
forgery :  the  poet  Horace  explains  how  wills  were  drawn  and  se- 
cured, and  Cicero  also  refers  to  the  same  subject.  Anglo-Saxon 
wills  were  made  in  triplicate,  and  consigned  to  separate  custodians. 
Tacitus  records  that  wills  were  not  recognized  by  the  ancient 
Germans.  In  France,  at  an  early  date,  the  clergy  were  intrusted 
with  the  duty  of  looking  after  wills  and  the  disposition  of  property 
under  them.  In  England,  wills  were  known  before  the  Con- 
quest, though  subsequently,  for  a  time,  their  use  was  forbidden 
by  law. 

The  works  of  Barnabe  Brisson,  pubUshed  in  1583  at  Paris,  are 
excellent  sources  for  information  on  the  subject  of  ancient  wills. 
In  fact,  both  in  England  and  in  France,  authors  of  the  highest 
learning  and  ability  have  done  much  for  history  and  hterature  in 
the  matter  of  collecting  wills,  ancient  and  modern. 

Our  form  of  testamentary  disposition  comes  to  us  from  the  Ro- 
man law.  In  the  present  age,  both  in  England  and  in  the  United 
States,  a  full  and  absolute  disposition  of  property  is  permitted, 
subject  to  certain  conditions,  which  are  hereinafter  noticed. 
That  this  general  right  to  dispose  of  earthly  possessions  is  exercised 
with  many  strange  vagaries,  and  for  objects  showing  many  eccen- 
tricities, yet  withal,  in  most  cases,  with  much  benevolence  and 
generosity  of  nature,  the  following  pages  will  fully  attest.  The 
disposition  of  property  by  will  does  not  show  that  the  good  men 
do  is  "oft  interred  with  their  bones,"  but  rather  that  the  world 
has  yet  a  good  conscience  in  benefactions,  and  that  humanity 
broadens  and  grows  kindlier  with  the  years.  It  may  be  observed 
that  the  mean  and  hateful  traits  of  human  nature  are  more  fre- 
quently shown  by  heirs  and  legatees  than  by  testators.  It  is 
true  that  the  "ruling  passion  strong  in  death"  shows  itself  in  wills, 
and  many  testators  evince  a  strong  desire  to  take  with  them  to  the 
next  world  the  substance  collected  in  their  dusty  Hves;  but  the 
law  has  placed  hindrances,  and,  as  Pope  says  : 


INTRODUCTION  xiii 

"  The  laws  of  God  as  well  as  of  the  land 
Forbid  a  perpetuity  to  stand." 

There  are  on  file  in  the  office  of  the  Register  of  Wills  in  Wash- 
ington City  a  number  of  wills  of  famous  Americans;  a  copy  of 
the  will  of  Washington  is  there,  as  well  as  the  wills  of  several  other 
presidents ;  also,  there  are  to  be  seen  those  of  many  statesmen  and 
other  eminent  persons :  likewise,  in  London,  in  the  Registry  of 
Wills,  there  are  on  file  the  original  wills  of  great  men,  which  the 
British  nation  has  jealously  guarded;  all  nations  are  interested 
in  them,  and  they  could  not  be  allowed  to  perish.  Those  who 
desire  it  may  in  London  see  the  will  of  the  painter  Vandyck,  of 
Doctor  Johnson,  of  Lord  Nelson,  of  William  Pitt,  of  Edmund 
Burke,  of  Izaak  Walton,  of  the  Duke  of  Wellington,  and,  greatest 
of  all,  that  of  William  Shakespeare.  The  last,  being  of  unusual 
interest,  has  been  exceptionally  treated,  and  the  three  folio  pages 
of  which  it  consists  are  placed  under  an  air-tight  frame  made  of 
pohshed  oak  and  plate  glass.  The  will  of  the  Great  Napoleon 
was  to  be  seen  for  many  years  at  old  Doctors'  Commons,  but  it 
was  restored  to  the  French  nation  in  compliance  with  the  request 
of  the  Emperor  Louis  Napoleon. 

A  chapter  with  the  title,  "The  Importance  of  the  Last  Will  and 
Testament,"  containing  general  suggestions  as  to  the  preparation 
of  wills,  has  been  introduced  into  this  work,  with  the  belief  that  it 
may  prove  useful  to  some  readers;  likewise  a  chapter  on  "Testa- 
mentary and  Kindred  Miscellany,"  which  embraces  subjects 
closely  akin  to  those  under  consideration,  and  which  it  is  hoped 
may  not  prove  uninteresting. 

The  collecting  of  interesting  and  unusual  wills  is  by  no  means 
an  easy  undertaking :  the  information  as  to  their  location  and 
contents,  even  those  of  famous  men,  is  surprisingly  limited;  di- 
gesting and  arranging  them  has  been  a  tedious  but  interesting  task. 
It  will  be  seen  by  the  collection  submitted,  that  all  avenues  of 
information  have  been  sought  and  critically  examined.  If  some 
minor  errors  have  crept  in,  the  indulgence  of  the  reader  is  asked 
for  a  work  largely  on  original  lines,  and  one  which  covers  a  wide 
field  of  investigation,  research,  and  comparison. 


ANCIENT,    CURIOUS,    AND 
FAMOUS    WILLS 

CHAPTER  I 

THE   IMPORTANCE   OF   THE   LAST   WILL   AND   TESTAMENT 

"To  put  ofiE  making  your  Will  until  the  hand  of  death  is  upon  you  evinces  either 
cowardice  or  a  shameful  neglect  of  your  temporal  concerns." 

It  has  been  thought  appropriate,  within  a  brief  space,  to  intro- 
duce into  this  work  some  general  observations  on  the  importance 
and  preparation  of  wills.  For  that  purpose,  the  following  address, 
under  the  title  given  this  chapter,  recently  delivered  before  the 
Missouri  Bankers'  Association,  has  been  selected.  It  will  be  seen 
that  the  subject-matter  is  general  in  character,  and  this  mono- 
graph has  been  favorably  received  by  the  legal  profession  and  the 
legal  and  financial  journals  of  the  United  States. 

"No  doubt  most  of  my  audience  will  regard  my  subject  a  life- 
less, if  not  a  commonplace  one.  Yet  it  is  of  daily  and  vital  impor- 
tance to  bankers  and  business  men  generally,  and  it  is  to  be  re- 
gretted that  there  exist  so  many  inaccurate  impressions  regarding 
wills. 

"The  North  American  Review  in  a  recent  editorial  said,  'The 
writing  of  a  will  is  a  serious  and  formal  matter,  and  into  one  a 
man  puts  his  deliberate  and  well-reflected  intentions.  This  makes 
a  will  stupendously  reveahng,  and  to  read  one  over  is  to  come  very 
close  to  the  spirit  of  the  man  who  wrote :  to  know  his  treasures, 
to  understand  his  feeling  toward  men,  and  to  measure  his  fitness  for 
adventures  among  seraphic  and  angelic  beings.  The  words  a 
man  desires  to  have  read  when  he  lies  dumb,  the  gifts  he  leaves,  the 
grace  with  which  he  gives,  all  these  lay  bare  the  spirit,  the  heart  of 
disposition,  as  few  other  things  can.  For  a  will  is  that  which  is  to 
live  after  one,  and  it  is  written  knowing  that  no  wound  inflicted 
can  be  remedied,  no  neglect  repaired.  How  egotism,  or  miserli- 
ness, or  conceit,  or  self-satisfaction  can  shine  out  in  a  will  !  How 
little  exalting  it  is  in  most  cases  to  read  wills,  and  how  often  they 

1 


%:     :ANCI]P:NT,  CURIOUS,  AND  FAMOUS  WILLS 

turn  us  back  to  the  authoritative  statement,  that  it  is  easier  for  a 
camel  to  pass  through  the  eye  of  a  needle.' 

"The  power  to  dispose  of  property  by  a  written  will  in  the  form 
known  to  us  does  not  appear  in  any  of  the  primitive  systems  of 
law,  except  in  Egypt ;  yet  testamentary  dispositions  in  some  form 
have  come  down  to  us  from  the  earliest  times.  In  the  year  1902, 
the  French  government  sent  out  a  commission  to  make  archaeo- 
logical investigations  in  Persia.  At  the  city  of  Susa,  they  un- 
covered a  stone  on  which  was  written  the  laws  of  Hammurabi, 
who  reigned  twenty-three  hundred  years  before  Christ,  or  one 
thousand  years  before  Moses  received  the  Ten  Commandments 
on  Mount  Sinai.  This  code  was  translated  by  Professor  Robert 
Francis  Harper,  of  the  Chicago  University,  and  furnishes  one  of 
the  most  remarkable  and  readable  books  which  has  ever  come 
into  my  hands ;  it  treats  of  the  laws  of  money,  banking,  inherit- 
ance, weights  and  measures,  divorce,  dower,  crimes,  and,  singularly 
enough,  some  of  its  provisions  are  present-day  law.  There  is, 
however,  no  mention  of  wills. 

"In  fact,  the  will,  as  we  know  it,  is  a  Roman  invention.  Free 
liberty  of  disposition  by  will  is  by  no  means  universal  at  this  time. 
Complete  freedom  in  this  respect  is  the  exception  rather  than  the 
rule.  Homesteads  generally,  estates  of  dower  and  curtesy  fre- 
quently, as  well  as  other  portions  of  an  estate,  are  not  the  subject 
of  devise  or  bequest. 

"There  never  was  a  fitter  application  of  Pope's  line,  'A  little 
learning  is  a  dangerous  thing,'  than  in  the  preparation  of  wills; 
and  it  is  a  most  astounding  fact  that  men  who  have  lived  pru- 
dently, who  have  been  conservative  and  successful  in  business, 
who  have  accumulated  large  wealth,  who  have  been  buffeted  by 
every  wave  of  misfortune,  will  attempt,  by  their  own  hands  or 
through  incompetent  agents,  to  write  their  wills.  It  is  always  a 
hazardous  undertaking,  unless  the  instrument  is  of  the  simplest 
character.  If  one's  child  is  sick,  a  doctor  is  called ;  if  a  man's  roof 
is  defective,  a  carpenter  is  sent  for ;  if  a  horse  throws  a  shoe,  the 
animal  goes  to  the  blacksmith ;  yet,  when  it  comes  to  the  making 
of  a  will,  perhaps  the  most  solemn  and  consequential  act  of  a  man's 
life,  the  testator  takes  his  pen,  and  frequently  without  aid  or  counsel 
does  that  which  experience  and  our  court  records  fully  demon- 
strate he  is  incompetent  to  do. 

"  Mr.  Daniel  S.  Remsen,  of  New  York,  an  author  of  high  repute 
on  the  preparation  of  wills,  says  that  fully  fifty  per  cent  of  wills 


ANCIENT,   CURIOUS,  AND  FAMOUS  WILLS  3 

contain  some  obscurity  or  omission.  With  this  statement  I  find 
myself  in  complete  accord.  I  believe  that  nearly  half  the  wills 
written  are  open  to  attack  and  a  large  portion  of  them  fatally 
defective.  I  have  never  seen  more  than  a  dozen  perfectly  drawn 
wills,  gauged  by  the  standards  of  perfect  clearness,  precision  and 
legality. 

"As  stated  by  Mr.  Remsen, '  A  will  is  an  ex-parte  document  and 
is  written  from  one  point  of  view;  it  is  the  expression  of  the 
wishes  of  the  testator  regarding  the  work  of  a  lifetime;  upon  its 
legality  depends  the  future  happiness  and  welfare  of  the  persons 
and  objects  most  dear  to  the  testator ;  and  whether  viewed  from  a 
property  or  a  family  standpoint,  it  is  often  the  most  important 
document  a  man  of  large  or  small  means  is  ever  called  upon  to 
prepare.' 

"How  many  are  there,  in  this  audience  of  a  thousand  bankers, 
who  can  tell  me  the  manner  in  which,  under  the  laws  of  descent 
and  distribution,  is  to  be  divided  an  estate  consisting  of  five  thou- 
sand dollars  in  cash,  and  real  estate  of  the  value  of  five  thousand 
dollars,  the  testator  leaving  a  wife  and  two  children  ? 

"Unfortunately  the  idea  prevails  that  a  will  is  a  very  simple  in- 
strument to  prepare.  Nothing  in  business  life  can  be  further  from 
the  truth ;  on  the  contrary,  a  will  may  be,  and  usually  is,  the  most 
intricate  of  all  legal  documents.  This  is  always  true  where  there 
are  gifts  or  devises  depending  upon  contingencies,  or  where  trusts 
are  created.  A  deed  or  a  contract  may  be  changed ;  not  so  with  a 
will,  after  the  death  of  the  maker.  Therefore,  foresight  in  its 
preparation  is  imperative, 

"There  is  a  well-marked  legal  distinction  between  the  words, 
heirs,  devisees,  legatees,  distributees,  and  legal  representatives. 
Each  of  these  terms  has  a  clear  and  well-defined  signification. 
One  who  has  the  preparation  of  wills  must  deal  with  the  law  against 
perpetuities.  An  estate  cannot  be  tied  up  for  a  longer  period  than 
*a  life  or  Hves  in  being  and  twenty-one  years  thereafter.'  This  is 
the  general  law  of  our  country.  The  law  of  dower  and  curtesy  is 
by  no  means  simple.  The  law  of  vested  and  contingent  remainders 
is  a  most  intricate  subject  and  requires  years  of  legal  study  to 
comprehend,  and  cannot  be  simplified.  The  creation  of  life  estates 
and  trusts  demands  the  most  careful  inquiry.  There  are  spend- 
thrift provisions  which  are  easier  to  break  than  to  prepare.  The 
statute  of  uses  cuts  an  important  figure  in  testaments.  The  pro- 
visions with  reference  to  the  powers  of  executors  and  trustees  are 


4  ANCIENT,   CURIOUS,  AND  FAMOUS  WILLS 

very  comprehensive  and  must  be  framed  with  great  care  and  pre- 
cision. The  subject  of  joint  tenants,  and  tenants  by  the  entirety, 
frequently  requires  the  most  profound  consideration  in  the  inter- 
pretation of  wills. 

"I  recently  saw  a  decision  of  one  of  our  highest  courts,  where  a 
testator  gave  a  large  sum  of  money  by  will  to  his  wife  'to  hold, 
possess  and  enjoy  during  her  natural  life ' ;  at  her  death,  the  fund 
was  to  go  to  a  certain  college.  The  widow  promptly  set  about  to 
'  enjoy '  the  fund  by  spending  it ;  the  court  held,  and  properly,  that 
she  had  a  right  to  do  so,  and  that  the  college  got  nothing.  The 
will  was  improperly  drawn.  Had  it  been  stated  that  she  might 
'enjoy  the  income,'  a  different  result  would  have  followed. 

"A  few  months  ago  I  saw  a  will  in  which  an  estate  of  one  mil- 
lion dollars  was  disposed  of :  the  testator  under  the  will  divided  the 
estate  into  ten  parts,  but  overlooked  the  disposition  of  one  of  these 
parts ;  the  omitted  part  passed  under  the  general  laws  of  inherit- 
ance, doubtless  contrary  to  the  wishes  of  the  testator. 

"There  came  under  my  observation  not  long  ago  a  will  drawn  in 
Michigan :  the  testator  owned  property  in  Michigan  and  also  in 
Missouri  and  South  Carolina.  The  will  had  but  two  witnesses ; 
it  was  efiFective  in  Michigan  and  Missouri,  but  in  South  Carolina, 
where  three  witnesses  are  required,  it  was  inoperative. 

"Within  the  last  few  days,  I  examined  the  will  of  one  of  our  most 
gifted  and  eloquent  United  States  senators,  now  deceased;  an 
ample  provision  for  his  wife  was  followed  by  this  clause:  'The 
acceptance  by  my  wife  of  the  provisions  for  her  benefit,  contained 
in  this  will,  shall  bar  all  claim  by  her  for  dower  in  any  real  estate 
heretofore  or  hereafter  conveyed  by  me  to  any  one.'  This  at- 
tempted exclusion  of  the  wife's  dower  was  well-nigh  meaningless : 
his  intent  was  to  preclude  her  right  of  dower  in  any  real  estate 
owned  by  him  at  the  time  of  his  death ;  but  he  said  '  conveyed  by 
me  to  any  one ' ;  all  real  estate  possessed  by  him  at  the  time  of 
his  death  was  subject  to  dower  and  not  excluded,  because  it  had 
not  been  conveyed. 

"A  will  was  lately  presented  to  me  where  the  testator  left  a  large 
estate,  —  one-third  to  his  wife,  one-third  to  a  son,  and  one-third  to  a 
grandson ;  the  wife  predeceased  the  testator.  The  question  arose 
as  to  what  became  of  the  one-third  given  to  the  wife. 

"Generally  speaking,  under  a  bequest  or  devise  to  a  'child, 
grandchild  or  other  relative,'  the  property  passes  to  the  lineal 
descendants  of  these,  in  the  event  the  legatee  or  devisee  dies 


ANCIENT,   CURIOUS,  AND  FAMOUS  WILLS  5 

before  the  testator ;  but  it  is  otherwise  as  to  all  other  persons :  as 
to  them,  the  devise  or  gift  lapses ;  even  the  children  of  stepchildren 
would  not  take  under  these  conditions. 

"It  is  said  'a  will  has  no  brother,'  meaning  that  no  two  are  alike. 
The  general  rules  of  construction  are  too  numerous  and  complex 
for  a  discussion  here.  Technical  words  are  presumed  to  be  used  in 
their  technical  sense,  unless  a  clear  intention  to  use  them  in  another 
is  apparent  from  the  context.  Our  courts  are  always  busy  in 
an  endeavor  to  ascertain  the  intentions  of  testators.  The  truth  is, 
few  men  write  accurately  and  precisely.  The  proper  use  and  selec- 
tion of  words  in  the  construction  of  wills  is  a  very  grave  duty. 

"A  general  outUne  of  the  framework  of  a  will  may  be  stated  as 
follows : 

"  (a)  A  will  should  revoke  all  former  wills ;  if  this  is  not  done,  the 
last  will  may  be  taken  in  connection  with  others.  If  the  testator 
is  unmarried,  he  should  state  that  fact.  His  statement  does  not 
make  it  true,  but  it  may  serve  a  very  excellent  purpose  in  thwart- 
ing the  claims  of  designing  persons. 

"(b)  There  may  be  a  provision  for  funeral  expenses,  and  sug- 
gestions with  regard  to  a  burial  place  and  a  monument. 

"  (c)  A  provision  for  the  payment  of  debts  should  be  made,  and 
the  executor  given  full  power  to  pay  debts  and  to  sell  and  convey 
any  portion  of  the  estate. 

"(d)  A  provision  should  be  made  for  bequests  and  legacies  to 
relatives  and  friends,  and  for  charitable  purposes. 

"(e)  Suitable  provisions  for  the  wife  and  children  should  be 
made, 

"  (/)  Adequate  provisions  should  be  inserted  for  trust  features ; 
these  are  operative  only  after  the  probate  administration  is  ended, 
unless  otherwise  directed,  and  they  should  be  full,  definite  and  clear. 

"  (g)  There  should  be  a  residuary  clause  which  catches  up  and 
disposes  of  any  portion  of  the  estate  not  already  disposed  of,  in- 
cluding lapsed  legacies  and  devises. 

"  (h)  The  executor  should  be  named. 

"  (i)  The  date  and  signature. 

"  (j)  Finally,  the  attestation. 

"To  me  it  is  incomprehensible  that  nine  men  out  of  ten  who  make 
their  wills,  seek  to  hamper  and  restrain  the  remarriage  of  their 
widows ;  neither  the  age  of  the  husband  nor  of  the  wife  seems  to 
deter  a  testator  in  this  direction  :  on  the  other  hand,  I  have  never 
seen  but  one  such  restriction  in  the  will  of  a  married  woman ;  and 


6  ANCIENT,  CURIOUS,  AND  FAMOUS  WILLS 

this  spirit  of  faith  and  trust,  in  a  comparative  view  of  the  sexes,  is, 
I  beheve,  quite  as  marked  in  the  daily  walks  of  life,  notwithstanding 
the  lines  of  Saxe  which  run : 

*  Men  dying  make  their  wills,  but  wives 
Escape  a  work  so  sad  ; 
Why  should  they  make  what  all  their  lives. 
The  gentle  dames  have  had  ?  ' 

"  It  may  be  said  that  a  condition  subsequent  in  general  restraint 
of  the  marriage  of  a  person  who  has  never  married,  annexed  to  a 
gift,  is  contrary  to  public  policy  and  void. 

"A  man  should  make  his  will  when  he  is  in  a  normal  and  healthy 
condition ;  it  should  be  done  timely  and  deliberately.  A  prominent 
legal  writer  says  :  '  It  is  astounding  how  frequently  from  indolence, 
procrastination,  or  superstition,  men  will  postpone  this  needful  act 
until  the  last.  Some,  like  old  Euclio  in  Pope,  with  the  ruling  pas- 
sion strong  in  death,  cannot  endure  the  thought  of  parting  with 
their  possessions,  even  post  mortem,  and  die  intestate.  Few  testa- 
tors know  their  own  minds,  and  a  deathbed  will  is  as  sorry  a  sub- 
stitute for  a  carefully  prepared  instrument,  as  a  deathbed  repent- 
ance is  for  a  well-ordered  life.'  A  sick  man  or  a  very  aged  man,  as  a 
rule,  is  not  in  a  condition  to  judge  fairly  of  the  affairs  of  human  life. 
He  is  apt  to  be  unconsciously  influenced  and  misled,  or  even 
coerced.  He  may  be  diverted  from  the  natural  channels  of  affec- 
tion, right  and  justice.  Frequently  the  resul  t  is  disastrous  litigation, 
the  breaking  of  domestic  ties,  and  the  exposure  of  family  skeletons. 

"Lord  Coke  said  a  long  time  ago,  'Few  men,  pinched  with  the 
messengers  of  death,  have  a  disposing  memory.'  'Such  a  will, 
he  adds,  'is  sometimes  in  haste  and  commonly  by  slender  advice 
and  is  subject  to  so  many  questions  in  this  eagle-eyed  world.  And 
it  is  some  blemish  or  touch  to  a  man  well  esteemed  for  his  wisdom 
and  discretion  all  his  Hfe,  to  leave  a  troubled  estate  behind  him, 
amongst  his  wife,  children  or  kindred,  after  his  death.' 

"A  man  may  work  out  his  religion  from  within  and  for  himself, 
but  when  it  comes  to  writing  a  will,  the  advice  of  a  good,  level- 
headed friend  cannot  be  overestimated. 

"The  will,  unlike  other  instruments,  is  usually  not  open  to 
criticism,  and  in  my  opinion,  the  testator  will  act  wisely,  who  takes 
into  his  confidence  some  trusted  friend  who  has  good  judgment  and 
just  ideas,  whether  he  be  a  lawyer  or  a  layman :  this  would  be  a 
poor  world  indeed,  if  such  were  not  to  be  found. 


ANCIENT,   CURIOUS,  AND  FAMOUS  WILLS  7 

"Statistics  show  that  out  of  every  hundred  persons  dying  in 
modern  times,  sixty-five  per  cent  leave  no  estate  at  all,  and  this 
is  true  in  the  most  prosperous  and  wealthy  portions  of  the  United 
States.  Out  of  the  hundred  mentioned,  about  thirty-five  leave 
estates,  but  less  than  ten  per  cent  leave  estates  exceeding  five 
thousand  dollars. 

"Gifts  through  wills  to  charitable,  educational  and  kindred 
institutions,  in  recent  years,  have  been  larger  than  during  any  other 
period  in  the  history  of  this  country.  In  the  year  1909  the  value 
of  such  gifts  exceeded  a  hundred  million  dollars,  according  to  the 
best  statistics  obtainable;  yet  it  is  much  to  be  regretted,  that 
testators  who  have  been  blessed  with  fortunes,  do  not  leave  more 
to  charitable  and  public  uses.  Very  little,  if  any  regret  would  be 
expressed  by  beneficiaries  under  wills,  if  testators  would  set  aside 
a  few  hundred  or  a  few  thousand  dollars  for  such  objects :  a 
fountain  in  one's  native  town,  a  scholarship,  a  hospital,  or  a  park 
or  plot  of  ground  where  the  aged  might  rest,  children  play,  and 
birds  sing.  Such  gifts  show  noble  natures,  and  all  communities 
are  proud  to  remember  and  honor  the  donors. 

"Although  the  laws  of  our  States  differ  somewhat  in  the  matter 
of  descent  and  in  the  rules  as  to  the  construction  and  requirements 
of  wills,  it  may  be  stated  that  it  is  not  generally  necessary  to 
mention  or  provide  for  any  other  persons  than  children  or  their 
descendants. 

"The  French  author,  Balzac,  regarded  by  many  critics  as  one 
of  the  keenest  observers  of  the  impulses  that  actuate  human 
life,  has  one  of  his  characters,  a  lawyer,  say  :  'There  are  in  modern 
society  three  men  who  can  never  think  well  of  the  world,  the  priest, 
the  doctor  and  the  man  of  law ;  and  they  wear  black  robes,  perhaps 
because  they  are  in  mourning  for  every  virtue  and  every  illusion ; 
the  most  hapless  of  these  is  the  lawyer;  he  sees  the  same  evil 
feelings  repeated  again  and  again ;  nothing  can  correct  them ; 
our  offices  are  sewers  which  can  never  be  cleansed ;  I  have  known 
wills  burned;  I  have  seen  mothers  robbing  their  children;  wives 
kill  their  husbands ;  I  could  not  tell  you  all  I  have  seen,  for  I 
have  seen  crimes  against  which  justice  is  impotent.  In  short,  all 
the  horrors  that  romancers  suppose  they  have  invented  are  still 
below  the  truth.' 

"Whether  this  conclusion  is  correct  or  not,  the  fact  is,  that  the 
law  seals  the  lips  of  the  priest,  the  doctor  and  the  lawyer.  The 
human  heart  is  never  completely  revealed ;  there  is  always  a  nook 


8  ANCIENT,  CURIOUS,  AND  FAMOUS  WILLS 

or  a  corner  that  is  closed  to  the  world.  But  the  lawyer  does  know 
human  nature ;  and,  take  it  all  in  all,  I  do  not  believe  there  is  any 
class  of  men  more  outspoken,  and  who  do  more  in  the  long  run  to 
uphold  our  rights,  our  morals  and  our  liberties,  than  lawyers. 
The  lawyer  will  tell  you  to  have  your  will  written  and  to  have  it 
well  written ;  he  will  tell  you  that  human  nature  is  strongly 
marked  in  wills ;  he  will  tell  you  that  his  profession  knows  no  more 
complicated  and  perplexing  a  document  to  prepare  than  a  will; 
he  will  tell  you  that  wills  are  frequently  destroyed  by  unauthorized 
hands ;  he  will  tell  you  that  when  a  provision  is  made  by  will 
which  gives  less  than  that  which  is  allowed  by  law,  that  that  pro- 
vision will  be  attacked ;  he  will  tell  you  that  wills  are  filed  in  pro- 
bate in  nearly  every  instance  before  the  dust  has  adjusted  itself 
on  the  grave  of  the  testator ;  he  will  tell  you,  if  candid,  that  lawyers 
are,  in  a  measure,  responsible  for  poorly  written  wills. 

"No  lawyer  should  be  asked  to  write  a  will  cheaply  or  hastily; 
the  testator  who  has  no  proper  appreciation  of  this  service,  and 
who  drives  a  bargain  for  ten  dollars,  for  that  which  is  worth  a 
hundred  or  more,  usually  gets  about  what  he  pays  for. 

"In  law,  as  in  other  professions,  ability  and  experience  are  essen- 
tial to  perfect  work;  when  you  seek  a  lawyer  to  write  your  will, 
see  that  he  has  these  qualifications. 

"Witnesses  to  wills  should  never  be  interested  in  the  instrument. 
If  the  testator  is  aged,  the  witnesses  should  be  those  well  acquainted 
with  him ;  in  fact,  this  is  always  a  good  rule,  whether  the  testator 
be  old  or  young ;  this  precaution  may  prevent  much  trouble  and 
complication,  and  it  has  the  sanction  of  our  highest  courts. 

"  There  is  a  class  of  gifts  to  which  I  wish  to  call  your  attention, 
and  I  refer  to  gifts  causa  mortis.  A  gift  causa  mortis  is  a  gift  of 
personal  property  by  a  person  about  to  die  and  in  view  of  death. 
If  there  is  an  actual  or  constructive  delivery  of  the  property,  the 
gift  is  good,  notwithstanding  the  law  of  wills.  The  gift,  however, 
must  be  absolute  and  the  giver  must  die  of  that  sickness. 

"In  making  provision  for  children  in  wills,  the  corpus  or  principal 
fund  is  not  infrequently  to  be  turned  over  to  them  on  arriving  at 
legal  age.  According  to  my  observation,  the  age  of  thirty  is  much 
preferable.  It  is  not  possible  for  any  young  man  or  woman  at  the 
end  of  minority  to  be  possessed  of  much  wisdom  with  reference 
to  the  care  of  property.  Worldly  knowledge  is  not  congenital, 
and  we  have  high  authority  that  'in  youth  and  beauty,  wisdom  is 
but  rare.' 


ANCIENT,  CURIOUS,  AND  FAMOUS  WILLS  9 

"Even  you  and  I,  my  friends,  have  picked  up  some  business 
knowledge  since  we  passed  the  hne  of  twenty-one. 

"I  cannot  too  highly  recommend  trust  provisions  in  wills, 
where  it  is  sought  to  make  allowances  to  children  or  others ;  the 
use  of  the  income  for  a  time  or  for  life,  instead  of  an  absolute  gift  of 
the  principal,  has  in  many  cases  a  most  beneficial  result.  In  the 
selection  of  an  executor,  my  judgment  is  that  it  is  better  to  have 
one  than  two,  and  unless  that  one  is  a  corporation  of  high  standing 
and  ample  capital,  I  would  always  require  a  bond.  This  works  no 
hardship,  for  bonds  are  readily  obtainable  by  reputable  persons. 

"A  codicil  is  a  supplemental  will.  Its  object  may  be  to  explain, 
modify,  add  to  or  take  from  a  will.  It  should  be  written  with 
cafe  and  precision  and  its  execution  is  attended  with  the  same  for- 
malities as  the  will  itself. 

"A  well-known  author  on  wills  says: 

" '  In  short,  a  will  may  be  a  man's  monument  or  his  folly.  Pru- 
dence, therefore,  demands  that  the  testator  plan  wisely,  and  frame 
his  testamentary  provisions  with  great  care.  That  is,  he  should, 
if  possible,  use  such  words  that  his  plan  shall  not  be  misunder- 
stood and  shall  be  carried  into  effect  without  dispute  or  litigation, 
for  unlike  instruments  between  living  persons,  it  is  only  after  the 
testator  is  dead  and  cannot  explain  his  meaning  that  his  will  can 
take  effect,  or  be  open  to  dispute.' 

"I  recommend  that  of  each  will  there  be  made  a  copy ;  the  origi- 
nal should  be  placed  in  one  safe  place,  and  the  copy  in  another. 
This  very  much  lessens  the  chance  of  its  being  destroyed  or  falUng 
into  bad  hands." 


CHAPTER  II 

ANCIENT  WILLS 

*'  For  we  brought  nothing  into  the  world,  and  it  is  certain  we  can  carry  nothing 

out." 

Will  of  Adam 

tf 

The  Mussulman  claims  that  our  forefather,  Adam,  left  a  will, 
and  that  seventy  legions  of  angels  brought  him  sheets  of  paper  and 
quill  pens,  nicely  nibbed,  all  the  way  from  Paradise,  and  that  the 
Archangel  Gabriel  set  his  seal  as  a  witness. 

It  may  be  added,  however,  that  the  authenticity  of  this  will  has 
not  been  established. 

Will  of  Noah 

It  is  claimed  that  Noah  left  a  will,  but  of  course  this  is  an  apoc- 
rypha. It  is  said  that  he  divided  his  landed  possessions,  the  globe, 
into  three  shares,  one  for  each  son.  America  was  not  included  in 
this  division  for  obvious  reasons. 

Will  of  Job 

There  exists  a  very  curious  and  ancient  testament  of  Job,  which 
was  discovered  and  published  by  Cardinal  Mai  in  1839 ;  it  relates 
many  details  which  we  may  look  for  in  vain  in  the  Canonical  Book. 
In  it  Job's  faithful  wife,  when  reduced  to  the  utmost  poverty,  sold 
the  hair  of  her  head  to  procure  bread  for  her  husband. 

Will  of  Jacob 

Jacob,  the  third  of  the  Hebrew  Patriarchs,  died  in  Egypt  at  the 
age  of  147,  but  was  buried  by  his  sons  in  the  Cave  of  Machpelah  at 
Hebron,  in  Palestine,  the  traditional  burial  place  of  the  Prophets 
and  other  Biblical  characters  of  their  time. 

It  can  be  stated  that  the  very  earliest  reference  to  an  actual  testa- 
mentary disposition  is  by  the  words  of  this  Patriarch : 

"And  Israel  said  unto  Joseph,  Behold,  I  die;  but  God  shall  be 
with  you  and  bring  you  again  unto  the  land  of  your  fathers." 

10 


ANCIENT,  CURIOUS,  AND  FAMOUS  WILLS        11 

"  Moreover,  I  have  given  to  thee  one  portion  above  thy  brethren, 
which  I  took  out  of  the  hand  of  the  Amorite  with  my  sword  and 
with  my  bow." 

"And  Jacob  called  unto  his  sons,  and  said,  Gather  yourselves 
together,  that  I  may  tell  you  that  which  shall  befall  you  in  the  last 
days," 

In  the  48th  and  49th  chapters  of  Genesis  are  these  words  of  the 
dying  Patriarch ;  and  here  is  found  not  only  the  disposition  of  a 
"portion"  to  Joseph,  but  the  character  of  each  son  is  shown,  the 
virtue  or  fault  of  each  is  described,  to  each  a  symbolic  emblem  is 
assigned,  and  to  each  a  future  is  prophesied. 

Here  is  a  will,  in  fact,  and  in  prophecy. 

« 

Will  of  Telemachus 

Homer  cites  this  will,  made  in  favor  of  Piraeus,  to  whom 
Telemachus  bequeaths  all  the  presents  that  had  been  made  to 
him  by  Menelaus,  lest  they  fall  into  the  hands  of  his  enemies; 
but  he  adds,  "In  case  I  should  slay  them  and  survive,  you  are 
then  to  restore  them  to  me  in  my  palace,  a  task  as  joyous  to  you 
to  accomplish  as  to  myself  to  profit  by."  Perhaps,  however,  this 
may  be  objected  to  as  proceeding  from  fabulous  history.  In 
Biblical  tradition,  however,  we  find  very  early  evidence  of  oral 
bequests. 

Will  of  Eudamidas 

To  Lucian  we  are  indebted  for  the  noble,  touching,  and  certainly 
eccentric  will  of  Eudamidas  of  Corinth. 

This  philosophical  individual,  who  was  extremely  poor,  was  on 
terms  of  close  and  intimate  friendship  —  friendship  in  the  full  and 
true  acceptation  of  the  term  —  with  Arethaeus  and  Charixenes  of 
Sycion.  Finding  himself  on  his  deathbed,  he  made  a  will,  which, 
while  exciting  only  the  ridicule  of  the  thoughtless  or  the  worldly- 
wise,  calls  for  respect  and  admiration  in  the  breasts  of  those  who 
know  the  value  of  real  cordiality,  and  can  appreciate  his  simple  con- 
fidence in  its  sincerity. 

"I  bequeath  to  Arethseus  my  mother  to  support;  and  I  pray 
him  to  have  a  tender  care  of  her  declining  years. 

"I  bequeath  to  Charixenes  my  daughter  to  marry,  and  to  give 
her  to  that  end  the  best  portion  he  can  afford. 

"Should  either  happen  to  die  I  beg  the  other  to  undertake  both 
charges." 


12        ANCEENT;' CURIOUS,  AND  FAMOUS  WILLS 

When  this  will,  continues  the  narrator,  was  read  in  the  public 
square  (this  being  the  accepted  mode  of  proceeding  at  that  time), 
all  those  who  were  aware  of  the  poor  circumstances  of  the  testator, 
but  were  incapable  of  recognizing  the  ties  which  linked  him  to  his 
friends,  turned  these  unusual  clauses  into  a  joke;  and  there  was 
not  one  who  did  not  go  away  laughing  and  observing :  "  Arethseus 
and  Charixenes  will  be  lucky  fellows  if  they  accept  their  legacies, 
and  he's  no  fool  to  have  made  himself  their  heir,  though  he  be 
dead  and  they  living." 

But  these  honest  legatees  no  sooner  learned  what  was  expected 
of  them  by  their  deceased  friend  than  they  hastened  to  put  his 
wishes  into  execution. 

Charixenes,  however,  only  survived  Eudamidas  five  days ;  and 
then  Arethseus,  acting  in  exact  conformity  with  the  will  he  had 
undertaken  to  execute,  assumed  the  share  bequeathed  to  his  co- 
executor.  He  supported  the  mother  of  Eudamidas ;  and  in  due 
time  found  a  suitable  husband  for  his  daughter.  Of  five  talents  of 
which  his  fortune  consisted,  he  gave  her  two,  and  two  others  to  his 
own  daughter,  and  celebrated  the  two  marriages  on  the  same  day. 

The  Oldest  Written  Will 

William  Matthew  Flinders  Petrie,  the  famous  English  Egyptol- 
ogist, unearthed  not  many  years  ago  at  Kahun  a  will  which  was 
forty-five  hundred  years  old ;  there  seems  no  reason  to  question 
either  the  authenticity  or  antiquity  of  the  document.  The  will 
therefore  antedates  all  other  known  written  wills  by  nearly  two 
thousand  years.  That  excellent  authority,  the  Irish  Law  Times, 
speaks  of  the  will  so  entertainingly  that  its  comments  are  here 
reproduced : 

"The  document  is  so  curiously  modern  in  form  that  it  might 
almost  be  granted  probate  to-day.  But,  in  any  case,  it  may  be  as- 
sumed that  it  marks  one  of  the  earliest  epochs  of  legal  history,  and 
curiously  illustrates  the  continuity  of  legal  methods.  The  value, 
socially,  legally  and  historically,  of  a  will  that  dates  back  to  pa- 
triarchal times  is  evident. 

"  It  consists  of  a  settlement  made  by  one  Sekhenren  in  the  year 
44,  second  month  of  Pert,  day  19,  —  that  is,  it  is  estimated,  the  44th 
of  Amenemhat  III.,  or  2550  B.C.,  in  favor  of  his  brother,  a  priest  of 
Osiris,  of  all  his  property  and  goods ;  and  of  another  document, 
which  bears  date  from  the  time  of  Amenemhat  IV.,  or  2548  b.c. 
This  latter  instrument  is,  in  form,  nothing  more  nor  less  than  a  will, 


ANCIENT,   CURIOUS,  AND  FAMOUS  "W^i^^        13 

by  which,  in  phraseology  that  might  well  be  used  to-day,  the  testa- 
tor settles  upon  his  wife,  Teta,  all  the  property  given  him  by  his 
brother,  for  life,  but  forbids  in  categorical  terms  to  pull  down  the 
houses  'which  my  brother  built  for  me,'  although  it  empowers 
her  to  give  them  to  any  of  her  children  that  she  pleases.  A  'lieu- 
tenant '  Siou  is  to  act  as  guardian  of  the  infant  children. 

"This  remarkable  instrument  is  witnessed  by  two  scribes,  with  an 
attestation  clause  that  might  almost  have  been  drafted  yesterday. 
The  papyrus  is  a  valuable  contribution  to  the  study  of  ancient  law, 
and  shows,  with  a  graphic  realism,  what  a  pitch  of  civilization  the 
ancient  Egyptians  had  reached,  —  at  least  from  a  lawyer's  point 
of  view.  It  has  hitherto  been  believed  that,  in  the  infancy  of  the 
human  race,  wills  were  practically  unknown.  There  probably 
never  was  a  time  when  testaments,  in  some  form  or  other,  did  not 
exist ;  but,  in  the  earliest  ages,  it  has  so  far  been  assumed  that  they 
were  never  written,  but  were  nuncupatory,  or  delivered  orally, 
probably  at  the  deathbed  of  the  testator.  Among  the  Hindus  to 
this  day  the  law  of  succession  hinges  upon  the  due  solemnization  of 
fixed  ceremonies  at  the  dead  man's  funeral,  not  upon  any  written  will. 
And  it  is  because  early  wills  were  verbal  only  that  their  history  is  so 
obscure.  It  has  been  asserted  that  among  the  barbarian  races  the 
bare  conception  of  a  will  was  unknown ;  that  we  must  search  for 
the  infancy  of  testamentary  dispositions  in  the  early  Roman  law. 
Indeed,  until  the  ecclesiastical  power  assumed  the  prerogative  of 
intervening  at  every  break  in  the  succession  of  the  family,  wills  did 
not  come  into  vogue  in  the  West.  But  Mr.  Petrie's  papyrus  seems 
to  show  that  the  system  of  settlement  or  disposition  by  deed  or  will 
was  long  antecedently  practised  in  the  East." 

Will  of  Sennacherib 
(681  B.C.) 

The  will  of  the  Assyrian  monarch  is  the  next  earliest  written  will 
which  can  be  cited.  It  was  found  in  the  royal  library  of  Konyunjik, 
where  we  read  that  to  his  favorite  son,  Esarhaddon,  not  being 
yet  heir-presumptive,  he  bequeaths  "certain  bracelets,  coronets, 
and  other  precious  objects  of  gold,  ivory,  and  precious  stones, 
deposited  for  safe-keeping  in  the  temple  of  Nebo." 

Sennacherib  was  assassinated  in  the  year  681  B.C.  by  two  of  his 
sons ;  he  was  succeeded  by  Esarhaddon. 


14        ANCIENT,  CURIOUS,  AND  FAMOUS  WILLS 

The  Will  of  Plato 
(348  B.C.) 

We  give  this  will,  handed  down  to  us  by  Diogenes  Laertius,  being 
of  interest,  not  from  anything  it  contains,  but  curious,  whether 
from  its  antiquity  or  as  an  illustration  of  the  very  simple  form  em- 
ployed by  the  Greeks  three  hundred  and  fifty  years  before  the 
Christian  era.  Of  its  intrinsic  value  as  coming  from  the  mind  and 
the  hand  of  Plato  we  need  say  nothing. 

"These  things  hath  Plato  left  and  bequeathed:  The  farm  of 
Hephaestiades  bounded,  etc.  It  is  forbidden  to  sell  or  alienate  it ; 
but  it  shall  belong  to  my  son  Adimantes,  who  shall  enjoy  the  sole 
proprietorship  thereof.  I  give  him  likewise  the  farm  of  Hereu- 
siades,  situated,  etc.     It  is  the  one  I  acquired  by  purchase. 

"Further,  I  give  to  my  son  Adimantes,  three  mines  in  cash,  a  sil- 
ver vase  weighing  one  hundred  and  sixty -five  drachmae,  a  cup  of  the 
same  metal  weighing  sixty -five,  a  ring  and  pendant  in  gold  weighing 
together  four  drachmae,  with  three  mines  due  to  me  from  Euclid 
the  gem-engraver. 

"I  free  from  slavery,  Diana ;  but  for  Tychon,  Bietas,  Dionysius, 
and  Apolloniades,  I  will  they  continue  the  slaves  of  my  son  Adi- 
mantes, to  whom  I  bequeath  also  all  my  chattels  as  specified  in  an 
inventory  held  and  possessed  by  Demetrius. 

"  I  have  no  debts ;  and  I  appoint  as  executors  and  administrators 
of  these  bequests  Speusippus,  Demetrius,  Hegias,  Eurymedon,  Cal- 
limachus,  and  Thrasippus." 

Such  is  the  will  of  the  grand  old  philosopher;  and  we  may 
suppose  that  by  those  simpler  minds,  even  the  date  was  considered 
unnecessary,  as  we  find  none  appended  to  this  document. 

Will  of  Aristotle 

(322  B.C.) 

The  will  of  this  famous  Peripatetic  philosopher  is  like  that  of 
Plato,  more  remarkable  for  its  antiquity  and  the  interest  attaching 
to  the  testator  than  for  its  contents.  He  was  sixty -eight  years  of 
age  at  the  time  of  his  death,  and  according  to  his  biographer, 
Timotheus  of  Athens,  he  cannot  have  been  very  attractive  in  his 
personal  appearance.  He  had  small  eyes,  a  cracked  voice,  and  thin 
limbs ;  but  he  was  always  well  dressed  and  wore  rings  on  his 
fingers ;  we  are  also  told  that  he  shaved  his  chin.  The  document 
in  question  begins  thus  : 


ANCIENT,   CURIOUS,  AND  FAMOUS  WILLS        15 

"  Greeting.  Aristotle  disposes  as  follows  of  what  belongs  to  him. 
In  case  death  should  surprise  me,  Antipater  will  undertake  to  exe- 
cute generally  my  last  wishes  and  is  to  have  the  administration  of 
everything. 

"Until  Nicanor  can  take  the  management  of  my  affairs,  Aristo- 
menes,  Timarchas,  Hipparchus,  and  Theophrastus  will,  with  his 
consent,  assist  him  to  take  care  of  my  property,  as  much  on  behalf 
of  my  children,  as  on  behalf  of  Herpylis.  As  soon  as  my  daughter 
shall  be  marriageable  she  is  to  be  given  Nicanor;  and  in  case, 
which  I  do  not  think  likely,  she  should  die  before  her  marriage  or 
before  she  has  children,  Nicanor  is  to  inherit  all  that  I  possess,  and 
to  dispose  of  my  slaves  and  all  the  rest  as  he  pleases. 

"Nicanor  will  then  take  charge  of  my  son  Nicomachus,  and  of 
my  daughter,  so  that  they  may  want  nothing;  and  he  will  act 
towards  them  as  a  father  and  a  brother. 

"Should  Nicanor  die  before  marrying  my  daughter,  or  having 
married  her  should  he  leave  no  children,  he  must  decide  what  is  to 
be  done  after  his  death. 

"If,  then,  Theophrastus  should  wish  to  take  my  daughter  to  his 
home,  he  will  enter  into  all  the  rights  I  give  to  Nicanor ;  or  if  not, 
the  curators  will  dispose  of  my  children  as  they  shall  consider  for 
the  best. 

"I  recommend  to  their  guardians,  and  to  Nicanor,  to  remember 
for  my  sake  the  affection  Herpylis  has  always  borne  me,  taking  care 
of  me  and  of  my  affairs.  If  after  my  death  she  should  wish  to 
marry,  they  will  see  that  she  does  not  marry  any  one  below  my 
condition.  In  that  case,  besides  the  presents  she  has  already  re- 
ceived, she  is  to  have  a  talent  of  silver,  three  slaves  besides  the  one 
she  has,  and  the  youth  Pyrrhseus.  If  she  wishes  to  live  at  Calchis, 
she  can  have  the  suite  of  rooms  communicating  with  the  garden; 
if  at  Stagyra,  she  can  occupy  the  house  of  my  fathers,  and  the  cura- 
tors will  suitably  furnish  whichever  of  these  residences  she  may 
select. 

"Nicanor  will  take  care  that  My  rex  is  sent  back  to  his  parents  in 
a  respectable  and  suitable  way,  with  all  that  I  have  belonging  to 
him. 

"I  give  Ambracis  her  liberty,  and  assign  to  her,  as  a  marriage 
portion,  500  drachmae  or  five  mines  and  a  slave. 

"I  bequeath  to  Thala,  besides  the  bought  slave  she  has,  a  young 
female  slave  and  1000  drachmae. 

"As  regards  Simo,  besides  the  money  already  given  him  to  buy 


16        ANCIENT,   CURIOUS,  AND  FAMOUS  WILLS 

another  slave,  let  one  more  be  bought  for  him  or  let  him  have  the 
value  in  money. 

"Tacho  is  to  have  his  freedom  when  my  daughter  marries. 
Philo,  and  Olympias  with  his  son,  shall  also  be  made  free  at  the 
same  period.  The  children  of  my  slaves  shall  pass  into  the  service 
of  my  heirs,  and,  when  they  become  adults,  they  shall  be  freed  if 
they  have  deserved  it. 

"Let  the  statues  I  have  ordered  be  finished  and  placed  as  I  have 
instructed  Gryllo,  viz.  those  of  Nicanor,  Proxenes,  and  the  mother 
of  Nicanor ;  also  that  of  Arimnestes  to  serve  as  a  monument  for  him 
as  he  left  no  children. 

"Also  let  the  Ceres,  belonging  to  my  mother,  be  placed  in  the 
Nemea.  Let  the  bones  of  my  wife,  Pythias,  be  placed  in  my  tomb, 
even  as  she  desired.  I  further  wish  the  four  stone  animals,  prom- 
ised by  me  as  votive  offerings  for  the  preservation  of  Nicanor,  to  be 
placed  at  Stagyra  to  Jupiter  and  Minerva.  They  are  to  be  four 
cubits  high." 

Will  of  Virgil 

(10   B.C.) 

A  singular  trait  in  the  character  of  this  great  poet  was  that  which 
appeared  by  the  clause  in  his  will  which  ordered  the  iEneid  to 
be  burnt :  "Ut  rem  emendatam  imperfectamque."  Tucca  and 
Varus,  however,  his  executors  and  friends,  and,  we  may  add  also, 
the  friends  of  literature  and  of  the  civilized  world,  assured  him 
Augustus  would  never  consent  to  this  barbarous  behest.  On  this 
he  bequeathed  to  them  his  Mss.,  but  on  the  express  condition  that 
if  he  should  die  before  he  had  time  to  revise  and  finish  them,  and 
they  should  think  proper  to  publish  them,  they  should  change 
nothing  and  should  leave  the  imperfect  and  incomplete  verses  just 
as  they  were. 

He  ordered  his  body  to  be  "carried  to  Naples,  and  there  interred 
near  the  road  to  Puzzuoli,  by  the  second  milestone."  The  epitaph 
which  was  engraved  on  it  was  written  by  himself  : 

Mantua  me  genuit,  Calabri  rapuere,  tenet  nunc 
Parthenope  :  cecini  pascua,  rura,  duces. 

He  divided  his  property,  which  was  considerable,  between  Valerius 
Proculus,  his  half-brother,  to  whom  he  left  half;  Augustus,  to 
whom  he  gave  a  quarter ;  Mecsenas,  who  got  a  twelfth ;  and  the 
rest  to  Varus. 


ANCIENT,   CURIOUS,  AND  FAMOUS  WILLS        17 

Will  of  Augustus 

(13   A.D.) 

Augustus  Csesar  made  his  will  under  the  consulate  of  Silius  and 
Plancus  in  the  year  a.d.  13,  and  one  year  and  four  months  before 
his  death. 

It  is  much  to  be  regretted  that  this  important  and  interesting 
document  should  not  have  reached  our  times  in  its  entirety ;  never- 
theless, by  collating  the  passages  relating  to  it  by  several  historians, 
we  arrive  at  a  considerable  portion  of  it. 

When  Augustus  had  made  his  will,  he  deposited  it,  according  to 
custom  and  the  example  of  his  uncle  Julius  Csesar,  in  the  sacred 
Temple  of  Vesta,  under  the  care  of  the  most  ancient  of  the  priest- 
esses. The  act  was  in  two  parts,  and  was  written,  partly  by  his 
own  hand  and  partly  under  dictation  to  his  two  freedmen,  Polyb- 
ius  and  Hilarion.  It  was  accompanied  by  four  other  portions 
sealed  with  the  same  seal. 

As  soon  as  Augustus  was  dead,  Tiberius  commanded  that  the 
jBrst  day  of  the  meeting  of  the  Senate  should  be  consecrated  to  his 
memory ;  whereon  the  Vestals  solemnly  brought  the  will  and  the 
four  appendices  belonging  to  it,  which  were  opened,  and  they  then 
proceeded  to  the  verification  of  the  will ;  then  Polybius,  the  freed- 
man  before  mentioned,  was  charged  to  read  it  aloud. 

The  first  lines  were  thus  conceived : 

"Since  Heaven  has  taken  from  me  my  two  grandchildren, 
Caius  and  Lucilius,  I  declare  Tiberius  my  successor,  and  I  transmit 
to  him  all  my  rights.  .  .  ." 

He  then  passes  to  the  disposal  of  his  goods ;  he  appoints  as  his 
heirs  the  above-named  Tiberius  and  Livia,  the  former  to  receive 
two-thirds,  the  latter  one-third ;  he  then  desires  they  should  bear 
his  name,  or  rather,  as  says  Tacitus,  he  desires  Livia  to  assume  the 
title  of  Augusta. 

In  case  of  the  death  of  Tiberius  and  Livia  he  replaces  them  by 
appointing  one-third  to  Drusus,  son  of  Tiberius,  and  the  rest  to 
Germanicus  and  his  three  sons. 

In  short,  he  substitutes  to  these,  as  a  third  arrangement,  his 
relatives ;  that  is  to  say,  his  grandchildren  and  great-grandchildren, 
and  they  defaulting,  his  friends,  amicos  complures. 

He  leaves  "to  the  Roman  people,"  quadringentos  sestertiiim. 

Item :   to  the  Latin  tribes,  tricies  quinquies  sestertium. 


18        ANCIENT,  CURIOUS,  AND  FAMOUS  WILLS 

Item :  to  the  soldiers  of  his  body-guards,  per  head,  i.e.  to  each 
pretorian  soldier,  millia  nummorum. 

Item :  to  those  of  the  municipal  guard,  the  urban  cohorts, 
quingenos  nummos. 

Item :   to  the  soldiers  of  the  legion,  trecentos  nummos. 

But  he  orders  all  these  military  legacies  to  be  paid  at  once,  hav- 
ing taken  the  precaution  to  put  by  the  sums  required  for  this 
object. 

As  to  the  other  legacies  to  different  private  individuals,  and  of 
which  the  majority  of  the  amounts  exceeded  twenty  sesterces,  he 
allows  a  period  of  a  year  after  his  death  for  the  payment  of  them, 
and  he  excuses  himself  for  their  smallness  on  the  plea  of  the  mod- 
erate amount  of  his  fortune. 

"I  leave,  in  all,  to  my  heirs,  no  more  than  one  hundred  and  fifty 
million  sesterces,  although  I  have  received  by  testamentary  dona- 
tions more  than  five  milliards  of  sesterces,  but  I  have  employed  the 
whole  of  this  in  the  service  of  the  State,  as  well  as  my  two  pa- 
ternal patrimonies  (that  of  Caius  Octavius,  his  own  father,  and 
that  of  Julius  Caesar,  his  adoptive  father),  and  my  other  family 
inheritances." 

By  another  clause  of  his  testament  Augustus  leaves  a  small 
legacy  to  his  daughter  Julia,  but  he  does  not  recall  her  from  exile ; 
he  even  forbids  that  her  ashes,  and  those  of  the  second  Julia,  his 
granddaughter,  as  debauched  as  her  mother,  should  be  placed  in 
the  tomb  of  the  Cffisars. 

Augustus  also  ordered  that  if  there  were  any  children  living  of 
those  who  had  left  him  their  money,  such  money  should  be  restored 
to  those  children,  but  only  on  their  attaining  their  majority,  and 
together  with  the  arrears  of  revenue ;  and  he  was  accustomed  to 
say  that  a  father  of  a  family  only  deprived  his  children  of  the  in- 
heritance they  were  entitled  to  when  the  prince  was  a  tyrant. 

When  the  Senate  had  verified  and  confirmed  this  will  by  a 
senatus  consultum,  they  presented  to  the  conscript-fathers  the  four 
rolls  above  mentioned ;  they  were  partly  written  by  the  emperor's 
own  hand.  It  was  Drusus  who  made  the  Senate  acquainted  with 
their  contents. 

In  the  first,  Augustus  prescribed  the  order  that  was  to  be  ob- 
served at  his  interment. 

The  second  was  a  journal  of  his  most  memorable  actions,  des- 
tined to  be  engraved  on  bronze  and  placed  on  the  fagade  of  his 
mausoleum.     An  ancient  marble,  found  in  the  excavations  of  the 


ANCIENT,  CURIOUS,  AND  FAMOUS  WILLS        19 

city  of  Ancyra  in  the  sixteenth  century,  has  preserved  to  us  a  por- 
tion of  this  journal ;  and  this  monument,  mutilated  as  it  is,  becomes 
precious  from  the  certainty  it  gives  us  as  to  the  dates  of  certain 
events  in  the  history  of  Augustus. 

The  third  contained  a  statement  of  the  forces  of  the  empire, 
of  the  troops  then  constituting  the  standing  army,  of  the  sums  con- 
tained in  the  public  treasury  and  in  that  of  the  emperor,  of  the 
tributes  and  imposts  still  due,  and  of  the  expenses  required  in  times 
of  peace  and  in  times  of  war. 

The  fourth  was  a  collection  of  instructions,  addressed  equally 
to  Tiberius  and  to  the  republic,  to  maintain  both  the  splendor 
and  the  tranquillity  of  the  empire.  Among  other  counsels  he  ad- 
vised them  to  choose  only  wise,  discreet,  and  virtuous  men  for  the 
administration  of  every  department  of  the  state ;  he  added  at  the 
same  time  that  it  was  dangerous  to  confide  to  any  single  individual 
the  entire  authority,  for  then  it  might  be  feared  that  the  power  of  the 
monarch  might  degenerate  into  tyranny,  and  that  its  ruin  might  in- 
volve that  of  the  state  and  precipitate  the  Romans  into  irretriev- 
able misfortunes.  He  recommended,  above  all,  to  those  who 
should  follow  him  in  the  cares  of  the  government,  not  to  preoccupy 
themselves  about  extending  the  limits  of  the  empire  by  new  con- 
quests, but  rather  to  apply  themselves  to  the  maintenance  and  good 
government  of  what  they  already  held. 

The  remainder  of  these  councils  was  simply  the  summary  of  the 
policy  he  had  himself  pursued  during  his  reign. 

These  books  as  well  as  his  will  were  approved  and  indorsed  by 
the  Senate.  They  then  decreed  him  a  costly  and  magnificent  fu- 
neral ;  his  corpse,  or  rather  its  image  in  wax,  was  laid  upon  an  ivory 
bed,  incrusted  with  massive  gold  and  draped  with  a  tissue  of  purple 
silk  woven  with  gold ;  the  procession,  of  the  same  extent  as  a  tri- 
umphal progress,  traversed  the  streets  of  Rome  with  great  pomp. 
It  halted  twice ;  on  the  first  occasion  Drusus  pronounced  the  fu- 
neral oration  over  the  body ;  on  the  second  Tiberius  spoke  another, 
which  has  been  preserved,  and  may  be  considered  a  model  of 
eloquence. 

When  the  procession  arrived  at  the  Campus  Martins  the  body 
was  enclosed  in  a  bier,  and  placed  on  a  funeral  pile  to  which  the 
centurions  set  fire;  while  the  clouds  of  smoke  and  flame  were 
ascending  to  the  sky  an  eagle  suddenly  appeared  in  the  midst  of 
them  and  took  its  flight  to  heaven,  in  the  midst  of  the  acclama- 
tions of  the  assembled  people,  who  declared  that  the  bird  sacred  to 


20        ANCIENT,   CURIOUS,  AND  FAMOUS  WILLS 

Jupiter  was  carrying  the  emperor's  soul  aloft  to  the  bosom  of  the 
king  of  the  gods. 

Will  of  a  Pig 

This  is  a  very  ancient  document.  Mr.  S.  Baring-Gould  in  his 
unique  work  "Curiosities  of  Olden  Times,"  says  of  it : 

"S.  Jerome  speaks  of  it,  saying,  that  in  his  time  (fourth  century) 
children  were  wont  to  sing  it  at  school  amidst  shouts  of  laughter. 
Alexander  Brassicanus,  who  died  in  1539,  was  the  first  to  publish 
it.  He  found  it  in  a  Ms.  at  Mayence.  Later,  G.  Fabricius  gave 
a  corrected  edition  of  it  from  another  Ms.  found  at  Memel  and 
since  then  it  has  been  in  the  hands  of  the  learned." 

With  slight  modifications,  the  will  runs  as  follows : 

"  I,  M.  Grunnius  Corcotta  Porcellus,  have  made  my  testament, 
which,  as  I  can't  write  myself,  I  have  dictated." 

Says  Magirus,  the  cook:  "Come  along,  thou  who  turnest  the 
house  topsy-turvy,  spoiler  of  the  pavement,  O  fugitive  Porcellus  ! 
I  am  resolved  to  slaughter  thee  to-day." 

Says  Corcotta  Porcellus  :  "If  ever  I  have  done  thee  any  wrong, 
if  I  have  sinned  in  any  way,  if  I  have  smashed  any  wee  pots  with 
my  feet,  O  Master  Cook,  grant  pardon  to  thy  suppliant !  " 

Says  the  cook  Magirus :  "Halloo,  boy  !  go  bring  me  a  carving- 
knife  out  of  the  kitchen,  that  I  may  make  a  bloody  Porcellus  of 
him." 

Porcellus  is  caught  by  the  servants,  and  brought  out  to  execution 
on  the  xvi  before  the  Lucernine  Kalends,  just  when  young  colewort 
sprouts  are  in  plenty,  Clybaratus  and  Piperatus  being  Consuls. 

Now  when  he  saw  that  he  was  about  to  die,  he  begged  hard  of 
the  cook  an  hour's  grace,  just  to  write  his  will.  He  called  together 
his  relations,  that  he  might  leave  them  some  of  his  victuals ;  and 
he  said : 

"  I  will  and  bequeath  to  my  papa,  Verrinus  Lardinus,  30  bush,  of 
acorns. 

"  I  will  and  bequeath  to  my  mamma,  Veturina  Scrofa,  40  bush,  of 
Laconian  corn. 

"  I  will  and  bequeath  to  my  sister,  Quirona,  at  whose  nuptials 
I  may  not  be  present,  30  bush,  of  barley. 

"  Of  my  mortal  remains,  I  will  and  bequeath  my  bristles  to  the 
cobblers,  my  teeth  to  squabblers,  my  ears  to  the  deaf,  my  tongue  to 
lawyers  and  chatterboxes,  my  entrails  to  tripemen,  my  hams  to 
gluttons,  my  stomach  to  little  boys,  my  tail  to  little  girls,  my 


ANCIENT,  CURIOUS,  AND  FAMOUS  WILLS        21 

muscles  to  effeminate  parties,  my  heels  to  rumiers  and  hmiters, 
my  claws  to  thieves  ;  and,  to  a  certain  cook,  whom  I  won't  mention 
by  name,  I  bequeath  the  cord  and  stick  which  I  brought  with  me 
from  my  oak  grove  to  the  sty,  in  hopes  that  he  may  take  the  cord 
and  hang  himself  with  it. 

"  I  will  that  a  monument  be  erected  to  me,  inscribed  with  this,  in 
golden  letters  : 

"  M.  Grunnius  Corcotta  Porcellus,  who  lived  999  years,  — 
six  months  more,  and  he  would  have  been  1000  years  old. 

"  Friends  dear  to  me  whilst  I  lived,  I  pray  you  to  have  a  kindness 
towards  my  body,  and  embalm  it  well  with  good  condiments,  such 
as  almonds,  pepper  and  honey,  that  my  name  may  be  named 
through  ages  to  come. 

"  O  my  masters  and  my  comrades,  who  have  assisted  at  the  draw- 
ing up  of  this  testament,  order  it  to  be  signed. 

(Signed)      Lucanicus.        Celsanus. 
Pergillus.        Lardio. 
Mystialicus.     Offellicus. 
Cymatus." 

Wills  of  the  Earl  of  Mellent  and  Others 

(1118) 

Robert,  the  famous  Earl  of  Mellent  and  Leicester,  one  of  the 
early  crusaders  in  the  Holy  Land,  died  in  1118,  in  the  abbey  of 
Preaux,  where  his  body  was  buried ;  but  his  heart,  by  his  own  order, 
was  conveyed  to  the  hospital  at  Brackley,  to  be  there  pre- 
served in  salt.  Isabella,  daughter  of  William  E.  Marshall,  Earl 
of  Pembroke,  who  died  at  Berkhampstead  in  1239,  ordered  her 
heart  to  be  sent  in  a  silver  cup  to  her  brother,  then  Abbot  of 
Tewkesbury,  to  be  there  buried  before  the  high  altar.  The  heart 
of  John  BaHol,  Lord  of  Barnard  Castle,  who  died  in  1269,  was,  by 
his  widow's  desire,  enclosed  in  an  ivory  casket,  richly  enamelled 
with  silver.  There  are  many  bequests  of  hearts  on  record  other 
than  the  above. 

Will  of  Saladin 

(1193) 

Interesting  to  record  is  the  last  will  and  testament  of  the  cele- 
brated Saladin,  born  in  1136  ;  he  died  in  1193,  after  filling  the  two 
continents  of  Europe  and  Asia  with  his  fame. 


22        ANCIENT,   CURIOUS,  AND  FAMOUS  WILLS 

Sultan  of  Egypt,  he  conquered  Syria,  Arabia,  Persia,  Mesopo- 
tamia, and  took  possession  of  Jerusalem  in  1187.  His  conquests 
suffice  to  enable  us  to  judge  of  the  extent  of  his  power  and  wealth ; 
at  his  death,  however,  he  showed  that  no  one  was  more  intimately 
convinced  of  the  utter  hollowness  of  the  riches  and  greatness  of  the 
world  and  the  vanity  of  its  disputes. 

He  ordered,  by  his  will,  first,  that  considerable  sums  should  be 
distributed  to  Mussulmans,  Jews,  and  Christians,  in  order  that  the 
priests  of  the  three  religions  might  implore  the  mercy  of  God  for 
him;  next  he  commanded  that  the  shirt  or  tunic  he  should  be 
wearing  at  the  time  of  his  death  should  be  carried  on  the  end  of  a 
spear  throughout  the  whole  camp,  and  at  the  head  of  his  army,  and 
that  the  soldier  who  bore  it  should  pause  at  intervals  and  say  aloud, 
"Behold  all  that  remains  of  the  Emperor  Saladin  !  Of  all  the 
states  he  had  conquered ;  of  all  the  provinces  he  had  subdued ; 
of  the  boundless  treasures  he  had  amassed ;  of  the  countless  wealth 
he  possessed,  he  retained  in  dying,  nothing  but  this  shroud  ! " 
To  this  we  may  add : 

"...  Behold  his  origin  and  end  ! 
Milk  and  a  swathe  at  first,  his  whole  demand ; 
His  whole  domain,  at  last,  a  turf  or  stone, 
To  whom,  between,  a  world  had  seemed  too  small." 

Will  of  William  de  Beauchamp 

(1268) 

*'  Will  of  William  de  Beauchamp,  dated  at  Wauberge,  upon  the 
morrow  after  the  Epiphany,  anno  1268,  53  Henry  III.  My  body 
to  be  buried  in  the  Church  of  the  Friars-Minors  at  Worcester.  I 
Will  that  a  horse,  completely  harnessed  with  all  military  capari- 
sons, precede  my  corpse;  to  a  priest  to  sing  mass  daily  in  my 
Chapel  without  the  city  of  Worcester,  near  unto  that  house  of 
Friars  which  I  gave  for  the  health  of  my  soul,  and  for  the  souls 
of  Isabel  my  wife,  Isabel  de  Mortimer,  and  all  the  faithful 
deceased,  all  my  rent  of  the  fee  of  Richard  Bruli,  in  Wiche  and 
Winchester,  with  supply  of  what  should  be  too  short  out  of  my 
own  proper  goods ;  to  Walter,  my  son,  signed  with  the  cross,  for 
a  pilgrimage  to  the  Holy  Land  on  my  behalf  and  of  Isabel,  his 
mother,  two  hundred  marks ;  to  Joane,  my  daughter,  a  canopy, 
some  time  belonging  to  St.  Wolstan,  and  a  book  of  Lancelot, 
which  I  have  lent  them ;  to  Isabel,  my  daughter,  a  silver  cup ;  to 


ANCIENT,   CURIOUS,  AND  FAMOUS  WILLS        23 

Sibill,  my  daughter,  all  the  money  due  to  me  from  my  son 
William,  towards  her  marriage,  and  XL  marks  more,  with  the 
land  which  I  bought  in  Britlamton,  to  enjoy  it  until  she  be 
married,  and  no  longer;  to  Sarah,  my  daughter,  one  hundred 
marks  for  her  marriage ;  to  William,  my  eldest  son,  the  cup  and 
horns  of  St.  Hugh ;  to  my  daughter  the  Countess,  his  wife,  a 
ring  with  a  ruby  in  it ;  to  Sir  Roger  de  Mortimer  and  Sir  Bartholo- 
mew de  Suley  a  ring  each ;  to  the  Friars-Minors  of  Worcester 
forty  shillings ;  to  the  Friars-Minors  of  Gloucester  one  mark ; 
to  the  Friars-Carmelites  there  one  mark;  to  the  Hospital  of  St. 
Wolstan  at  Worcester  one  mark;  to  the  Hospital  of  St.  Oswald 
there  ten  shillings ;  to  the  Canons  of  Doddeford  one  mark ;  to  the 
Church  and  Nuns  of  Cokehill  x  marks ;  to  Isabel,  my  wife,  ten 
marks ;  to  the  Church  and  Nuns  of  Westwood  one  mark ;  to  the 
Church  and  Nuns  without  Worcester  one  mark ;  to  every  Ancho- 
rite in  Worcester  and  the  parts  adjacent  four  shillings;  to  the 
Church  of  Salewarp,  a  house  and  garden  near  the  parsonage,  to 
find  a  lamp  to  burn  continually  therein  to  the  honor  of  God,  the 
Blessed  Virgin,  St.  Katherine,  and  Saint  Margaret ;  and  I  appoint 
my  eldest  son  William  Earl  of  Warwick,  Sir  Roger  Mortimer,  Sir 
Bartholomew  de  Sudley,  and  the  Abbots  of  Evesham  and  of  Great 
Malverne,  my  executors." 

Will  of  William  de  Beauchamp,  Earl  of  Warwick 
(1296) 

"  Will  of  William  De  Beauchamp,  Earl  of  Warwick,  dated  Holy 
Rood  Day,  1296,  25  Edward  I.  being  in  perfect  health.  My  body 
to  be  buried  in  the  quire  of  the  Friars-Minors,  commonly  called  the 
Gray-friars  at  Worcester,  if  I  die  within  the  compass  of  the  four 
English  Seas;  otherwise,  then  in  the  house  of  the  Friars-Minors 
nearest  to  the  place  in  which  I  may  happen  to  die,  and  my  heart 
to  be  buried  wheresoever  the  Countess,  my  dear  consort,  may  her- 
self resolve  to  be  interred ;  to  the  place  where  I  may  be  buried 
two  great  horses,  viz.,  those  to  the  which  shall  carry  my  armour 
at  my  funeral,  for  the  solemnizing  of  which  I  bequeath  two  hun- 
dred pounds ;  to  the  maintenance  of  two  soldiers  in  the  Holy  Land, 
one  hundred  pounds ;  to  Maud  my  wife,  all  my  silver  vessels,  with 
the  cross,  wherein  is  contained  part  of  the  wood  of  the  very  cross 
whereon  our  Saviour  died  ;  likewise  the  vestments  of  my  Chapel, 
to  make  use  of  during  her  life;    but  afterwards  the  best  suit  to 


24        ANCIENT,   CURIOUS,  AND  FAMOUS  WILLS 

belong  to  Guy,  my  eldest  son;  the  second  best  to  my  Chapel  of 
Hanslape ;  and  the  third  best  to  my  Chapel  at  Hanley ;  to  Guy, 
my  son,  a  gold  ring  with  a  ruby  in  it,  together  with  my  blesing; 
to  my  said  wife  a  cup,  which  the  Bishop  of  Worcester  gave  me, 
and  all  my  other  cups,  with  my  lesser  sort  of  jewels  and  rings,  to 
distribute  for  the  health  of  my  soul,  where  she  may  think  best; 
to  my  two  daughters,  nuns  at  Shouldham,  fifty  marks." 

Will  of  Edward  I 

(1307) 

This  will  seems  entitled  to  find  a  place  among  those  which  may 
be  regarded  as  abnormal,  and  when  we  come  to  the  record  of  it 
in  the  simple  and  naif  style  of  that  matchless  old  chronicler  Frois- 
sard,  we  are  irresistibly  tempted  to  make  a  transcript  of  the  few 
lines  which  in  describing  it  carry  us  back  to  the  days  of  that  tur- 
bulent and  brilliant  monarch. 

"Le  bon  roy,"  he  writes,  "trepassa  en  la  cite  de  Warvich.  Et 
quend  il  mourut  il  fit  appeler  son  aisne  fils  (Edouard  II.  qui  apres 
luy  fust  roy)  pardeuant  ses  barons,  et  luy  fit  iurer  sur  les  saincts, 
qu'aussitost  qu'il  seroit  trespasse  il  le  feroit  bouilleir  dans  une 
chaudiere,  tant  que  la  chair  se  departiroit  des  os :  et  apres  ferait 
mettre  la  chair  en  terre  et  garderoit  les  os :  et  toutes  les  fois  que 
les  Escogois  de  rebelleroient  contre  luy,  il  semondroit  ses  gens  et 
porteroit  avesques  luy  les  os  de  son  pere.  Car  il  tenoit  fermement 
que  tant  qu'il  auroit  ses  os  avesques  luy  les  Escogois  n'auraient 
poinct  de  victoire  contre  luy.  Lequel  n'accomplit  mie  ce  qu'il 
auait  iure :  ains  fit  rapporter  son  pere  a  Londres  et  la  enseuelir ; 
dont  luy  meschent." 

Will  of  Guy  de  Beauchamp,  Earl  of  Warwick 

(1315) 

"  Will  of  Guy  de  Beauchamp,  Earl  of  Warwick,  dated  at  W^ar- 
wick  Castle,  Monday  next  after  the  Feast  of  St.  James  the  Apostle, 
1315.  My  body  to  be  buried  in  the  Abbey  of  Bordsley,  without 
any  funeral  pomp ;  to  Alice,  my  wife,  a  proportion  of  plate,  with  a 
crystal  cup  and  half  my  bedding,  and  also  all  the  vestments  and 
books  belonging  to  my  Chapel ;  the  other  half  of  my  beds,  rings, 
and  jewels,  I  bequeath  to  my  two  daughters;  to  Maud,  my 
daughter,  a  crystal  cup  ;  to  Elizabeth,  my  daughter,  the  marriage 
of  Astley's  heir ;  to  Thomas,  my  son,  my  best  coat  of  mail,  helmet. 


ANCIENT,   CURIOUS,  AND  FAMOUS  WILLS        25 

and  suit  of  harness,  with  all  that  belongs  thereto ;  to  John,  my  son, 
my  second  coat  of  mail,  helmet,  and  harness ;  and  I  Will  that  all 
the  rest  of  my  armour,  bows,  and  other  warlike  implements,  shall 
remain  in  Warwick  Castle  for  my  heir." 

Dukes  of  Lancaster 

(1360) 

Henry,  Duke  of  Lancaster,  who  died  in  1360,  thus  begins  the 
second  clause  of  his  will:  "Item:  we  will  that  our  body  he  not 
buried  for  three  weeks  after  the  departure  of  our  soul." 

(1399) 

John,  Duke  of  Lancaster,  better  known  as  John  of  Gaunt, 
directs  as  follows  in  his  will :  "If  I  die  out  of  London  I  desire  that, 
the  night  my  body  arrives  there,  it  be  carried  direct  to  the  Friars 
Carmelites,  in  Fleet  Street,  and  the  next  day  be  taken  straight  to 
St.  Paul's,  and  that  it  be  not  buried  for  forty  days,  during  which  I 
charge  my  executors  that  there  be  no  embalming  of  my  corpse." 

Will  of  Sir  Robert  Launde 

(1367) 

"  Will  of  Sir  Robert  Launde,  alias  Atte  Launde,  Knt.,  Citizen  of 
London,  on  our  Lady's  Eve,  1367,  My  body  to  be  buried  in  the 
quire  of  St.  Mary's,  of  the  Charterhouse  in  London ;  to  Christian, 
my  wife ;  to  Ada  Launde,  my  mother ;  to  Robert  Watfield,  late  my 
servant,  c  I.;  to  Rose  Pomfret,  my  sister,  of  Berdfield,  CXL  I. ;  to 
Richard,  her  son,  and  William,  her  brother ;  to  Margaret  Biernes, 
their  sister ;  to  Margaret,  her  sister,  married  to  Aksted ;  to  Agnes, 
my  niece,  at  Hallewell ;  to  the  high  altar  of  Hempsted,  in  Essex ; 
to  the  poor  there,  by  gift  of  Robert  Watfield ;  to  Joane  Launde, 
of  Cambridgeshire ;  to  my  noble  Lady  the  Countess  of  Norfolk ; 
to  John  Southcot,  to  find  him  at  school ;  to  the  building  of  the  cross 
in  Cheapside ;  and  I  appoint  Sir  John  Philpot,  Knt.,  overseer  of 
this  my  Will." 

Will  of  Lady  Joan  De  Cobham 

(1369) 

"  Will  of  Joan  De  Cobham,  of  Starburghe.  August  13,  1369. 
My  body  to  be  buried  in  the  church-yard  of  St.  Mary  Overhere, 
in  Southwark,  before  the  church  door,  where  the  image  of  the 


26        ANCIENT,   CURIOUS,  AND  FAMOUS  WILLS 

blessed  Virgin  sitteth  on  high  over  that  door :  and  I  Will  that  a 
plain  marble  stone  be  laid  over  my  body. 

"  I  Will  that  VII  thousand  masses  be  said  for  my  soul  by  the 
Canons  of  Tunbrugge  and  Tanfugge,  and  the  four  Orders  of  Friars 
in  London,  viz.,  the  Friars-Preachers,  Minors,  Augustines,  and 
Carmelites,  who  for  so  doing  shall  have  xxix  /.  iii  s.  iv  d.  Also 
I  Will  that  on  my  funeral  day  twelve  poor  persons,  clothed  in 
black  gowns  and  hoods,  shall  carry  twelve  torches ;  I  bequeath  to 
the  Church  of  Lyngefeld  a  frontore  with  the  arms  of  Berkeley 
and  Cobham  standing  on  white  and  purple ;  to  Reginald,  my  son, 
a  ring  with  a  diamond;  to  Sir  Henry  Grey  and  Dame  Joan,  his 
wife,  and  to  that  Joane  my  daughter ;  to  Joane,  daughter  to  that 
Joane.  I  Will  that  my  house  in  Southwark  be  sold  to  pay  my 
Lord's  debts,  and  to  found  prayers  in  the  parish  church  of  Langele- 
Borell  for  the  souls  of  Sir  John  de  la  Mare,  Knt.,  some  time  lord 
there.  Sir  Reginald  Cobham,  Sir  Thomas  Berkeley,  and  for  the 
souls  of  my  benefactors.  If  Reginald,  my  son,  or  any  other  of  my 
heirs,  shall  appropriate  that  church  for  the  maintenance  of  two 
priests  to  celebrate  divine  service  there  for  ever,  as  it  was  in- 
tended and  conditioned  by  the  said  Sir  John  de  la  Mare  when  he 
sold  that  lordship  of  Langele,  with  that  of  Lye,  to  my  husband, 
in  the  presence  of  the  Lord  Berkeley,  my  father,  then  I  Will  that 
my  Executors  shall  enfeoffe  the  said  Reginald,  or  his  heirs,  in  my 
water-mill  at  Edulme  Bridge,  and  in  my  house  at  Southwark,  for 
ever;  to  Sir  John  Cobham;  to  John  de  Cobham,  of  Devonshire." 

The  Will  of  Petrarch 

(1370) 

To  the  cultivated  reader  everything  relating  to  a  man  who  may 
be  considered  the  phenomenon  of  his  age  must  be  interesting. 
The  document  we  subjoin  is  especially  valuable  as  supplying  the 
key  to  a  mind  which  has  drawn  to  itself  our  warmest  sympathies, 
and  whose  written  thoughts  are  among  the  most  attaching  be- 
quests of  poetry. 

The  will  of  the  poet-philosopher  of  Vaucluse  is  dated  "pridie 
nonas  Aprilis,  1370,"  four  years  before  his  death,  when  he  was 
sixty-six  years  of  age,  having  been  born  at  Arezzo,  20th  of  July, 
1304. 

He  prefaces  it  with  moral  reflections  on  the  certainty  of  death, 
but  the  uncertainty  of  its  summons,  and  the  necessity  of  putting 


ANCIENT,   CURIOUS,  AND  FAMOUS  WILLS        27 

one's  affairs  in  order.  He  then  proceeds  to  state  that  what  he 
possesses  is  of  so  little  value  that  he  is  in  some  sort  ashamed  to 
make  a  will;  "sed,"  adds  he,  "divitum  atque  inopium  curae,  de 
rebus  licet  imparibus,  pares  sunt." 

After  recommending  his  soul  to  Jesus  Christ  and  imploring  the 
succor  of  Mary,  of  St.  Michael,  and  all  the  Saints,  he  orders  very 
expressly  that  he  may  be  buried  without  any  sort  of  pomp,  — 
"absque  omni  pompa  et  cum  summa  humilitate  et  abjectione, 
quanta  esse  potest,  ..."  and  renders  his  heir  and  his  friends 
responsible  for  the  execution  of  this  clause.  He  claims  no  tears, 
as  useless  to  the  departed,  but  begs  the  prayers  of  the  survivors, 
of  which  he  has  need. 

Not  knowing  where  he  may  be  at  the  time  of  his  death,  he 
designates  in  different  cities  the  spot  he  would  choose  for  his  burial, 
naming  Padua,  Venice,  Milan,  Rome,  and  Parma,  and  leaves  a 
legacy  of  200  gold  ducats  to  the  church  at  Padua,  and  20  to  the 
church  in  which  he  shall  be  interred. 

Among  special  bequests  is  one  to  the  Governor  of  Padua,  of 
a  very  fine  picture  of  the  Virgin  Mary  —  "opus  Joctii,  pictoris 
egregii"  —  which  had  sent  been  him  from  Florence  by  his  friend 
Michael  Navis.  "In  beholding  this  painting,"  he  says,  "pul- 
chritudinem  ignorantes,  non  intelligunt;  magistri  autem,  artis, 
stupent." 

He  desires  that  all  the  horses  he  may  possess  at  the  time  of  his 
decease  may  be  divided  between  his  two  friends,  Bonzanello  and 
Lorbardo,  and  acknowledges  a  debt  to  the  latter  of  334  gold  ducats 
and  16  sous,  which  he  nevertheless  hopes  to  pay  before  his  death. 

He  bequeaths  to  the  same  Lorbardo  his  small  round  goblet  of 
silver-gilt  that  he  may  drink  as  much  water  as  he  likes,  knowing 
that  he  prefers  water  to  wine. 

To  the  Sacristan,  Giovanni  Bocheta,  he  gives  his  large  breviary, 
which  cost  him  100  livres  at  Venice;  but  desires  that  after  the 
death  of  the  Sacristan  the  volume  may  be  deposited  in  the  sacristy 
of  the  church  for  the  use  of  all  priests  attached  to  that  church  and 
who  will  pray  for  him  to  God  and  the  Virgin  Mary. 

He  leaves  to  Giovanni  di  Certaldo,  otherwise  Boccaccio,  — 
(verecundi  admodum  tanto  viro,  tarn  modicum,  says  he),  —  200  gold 
florins  of  Florence,  to  purchase  him  a  winter  robe  suitable  for  his 
studious  vigils.  The  words  ''tanto  viro"  are  significant  of  the  great 
esteem  in  which  he  held  the  genius  of  Boccaccio. 

To  Tomaso  Bambasia,  of  Ferrara,  he  leaves  his  lute,  which  he 


28        ANCIENT,   CURIOUS,  AND  FAMOUS  WILLS 

describes  as  "good"  —  leutum  meum  honum  —  but  for  singing  the 
praises  of  the  Lord,  and  by  no  means  pro  vanitate  seculi  fugacis. 

To  Johannes  de  Horologio  —  to  whom  he  gives  the  title  of 
"physicum"  —  he  bequeaths  50  gold  ducats  to  buy  a  ring  which 
he  will  wear  on  his  JSnger  in  memory  of  the  testator. 

As  for  his  servants,  he  gives  first  to  Bartolomeo  di  Siena,  sur- 
named  Pancaldus,  a  sum  of  20  ducats,  but  on  condition  that  he 
will  not  gamble  with  it.     To  Litius,  he  gives  the  same,  etc. 

In  fine,  he  institutes  as  his  heir  and  residuary  legatee,  Francesco 
di  Borsano,  residing  at  Milan.  He  names  "a  small  property  he 
has  near  Vaucluse"  of  which  he  desires  to  make  a  hospital  for  the 
poor,  and  if  this  could  not  be  done  he  devises  it  to  the  son  of  Ray- 
mond de  Clermont,  surnamed  Moneto.  There  are  other  unim- 
portant clauses,  after  which  comes  the  date,  signature,  and  names 
of  witnesses ;  he  adds  to  it,  however,  a  request  to  his  heir  to  write 
as  soon  as  possible  after  his  death  to  his  brother  —  a  Carthusian 
in  a  convent  at  Marseilles  (in  conventu  de  Materino)  —  and  to  pro- 
pose to  either  pay  down  to  him  a  sum  of  100  gold  florins  or  an 
annuity  of  ten,  as  he  might  please.  The  whole  terminates  with 
these  words :  Ego  Franciscus  Petrarca  scripsi,  qui  tesiamentum 
alivd  fecissem,  si  essem  dives,  ut  vulgus  insanum  putat. 

Curious  and  suggestive  as  is  this  relic,  the  illustrious  reformer 
of  philosophy,  eloquence,  poetry,  and  —  shall  we  not  even  add  — 
of  love,  has  left  a  yet  more  engaging  clew  to  his  grand  character, 
not  only  in  his  simple  and  almost  ndij  "Epistle  to  Posterity," 
but  in  a  third  paper  consisting  of  the  private  memorandum  written 
in  the  fly-leaf  of  his  Virgil,  evidently  the  outpouring  of  his  heart 
and  intended  for  no  human  eye.  The  concluding  lines  are  touch- 
ing in  the  extreme.  What,  indeed,  can  be  more  sublime  than  the 
lifelong  devotedness  of  such  a  soul  as  Petrarch's  to  the  noblest 
and  most  beautiful,  because  the  most  disinterested,  of  sentiments 
—  an  all-absorbing  and  unaltered,  yet  pure  and  passionless, 
affection,  and  though  surviving  its  object,  losing  none  of  its 
intensity  ! 

"...  This  loss,"  he  says,  writing  of  the  death  of  Laura,  "always 
present  to  my  memory,  will  continually  remind  me  that  there  is 
no  state  here  below  worthy  to  be  called  happy,  and  that  it  is  time 
I  should  renounce  the  world  since  the  dearest  tie  that  linked  me 
to  it  is  snapped.  I  hope,  by  the  help  of  Heaven,  this  resignation 
may  become  possible.  My  mind,  in  reverting  to  the  past,  will 
find  that  the  solicitudes  which  occupied  it  were  vain;    the  hope 


ANCIENT,   CURIOUS,  AND  FAMOUS  WILLS        29 

it  cherished  delusive;   that  the  plans  it  formed  were  never  to  be 
realized,  and  could  only  lead  to  disappointment  and  distress." 

Petrarch  was  found  dead  in  his  library,  his  head  resting  on  an 
open  book,  on  the  18th  July,  1374,  He  was  within  two  days  of 
seventy. 

Will  of  Sir  Walter  Manney 
(1371) 

"  Will  of  Sir  Walter,  Lord  of  Manney,  Knight,  London,  St.  An- 
drew's Day,  1371.  My  body  to  be  buried  at  God's  pleasure,  but  if 
it  may  be  in  the  midst  of  the  Quire  of  the  Carthusians,  called  Our 
Lady,  near  West  Smithfield,  in  the  suburbs  of  London,  of  my 
foundation,  but  without  any  great  pomp ;  and  I  Will  that  my 
Executors  cause  twenty  masses  to  be  said  for  my  soul,  and  that 
every  poor  person  coming  to  my  funeral  shall  have  a  penny,  to 
pray  for  me  and  the  remission  of  my  sins ;  to  Mary,  my  sister  a  nun, 
X  pounds ;  to  my  two  bastard  daughters,  nuns,  viz.,  to  Mialosel 
and  Malplesant,  the  one  cc  franks,  the  other  c  franks ;  to  Cishbert, 
my  cousin ;  to  Margaret  Mareschall,  my  dear  wife,  my  plate  which 
I  bought  of  Robert  Francis ;  also  a  girdle  of  gold,  and  a  hook  for 
a  mantle,  and  likewise  a  garter  of  gold,  with  all  my  girdles  and 
knives,  all  my  beds  and  dossers  in  my  wardrobe,  excepting  my 
folding  bed,  paly  of  blue  and  red,  which  I  bequeath  to  my  daughter 
of  Pembroke ;  and  I  Will  also  that  my  said  wife  have  all  the  goods 
which  I  purchased  of  Lord  Segrave  and  the  Countess  Marshal. 
Also  I  Will  that  a  tomb  of  alabaster,  with  my  image  as  a  knight, 
and  my  arms  thereon,  shall  be  made  for  me,  like  unto  that  of  Sir 
John  Beauchamp  in  Paul's,  in  London.  I  Will  that  prayers  be  said 
for  me,  and  for  Alice  de  Henalt,  Countess  Marshal.  And  whereas 
the  King  oweth  me  an  old  debt  of  a  thousand  pounds,  by  bills  of 
his  wardrobe,  I  Will  that,  if  it  can  be  obtained,  it  shall  be  given  to 
the  Prior  and  Monks  of  the  Charter-house.  And  whereas  there  is 
due  to  me  from  the  Prince,  from  the  time  he  had  been  Prince  of 
Wales,  the  sum  of  c  marks  per  annum,  for  my  salary  as  Governor 
of  Hardelagh  Castle,  I  bequeath  one  half  thereof  to  the  said  Prior 
and  Monks  of  the  Charter-house  before  mentioned,  and  the  other 
half  to  the  executors  of  my  Will.  To  my  wife,  and  my  daughter 
Pembroke,  fifteen  M  florins  of  gold,  and  five  'vesseux  estutes  ph,' 
which  Duke  Albert  oweth  me  by  obligation;  to  Sir  Guy  Bryan, 
Knt.,  my  best  chains,  whom  I  also  appoint  my  Executor." 


30        ANCIENT,  CURIOUS,  AND  FAMOUS  WILLS 

Will  of  Edward,  Prince  of  Wales 
(1376) 

"  In  the  name,  &c..  We,  Edward,  eldest  son  of  the  King  of  Eng- 
land and  France,  Prince  of  Wales,  Duke  of  Cornwall,  and  Earl  of 
Chester,  the  7th  June,  1376,  in  our  apartment  in  the  Palace  of  our 
Lord  and  Father  the  King  at  Westminster,  being  of  good  and  sound 
memory,  &c.  We  bequeath  to  the  altar  of  Our  Lady's  chapel  at 
Canterbury  two  basons  with  our  arms,  and  a  large  gilt  chalice 
enamelled  with  the  arms  of  Warren.  To  our  son  Richard  the  bed 
which  the  King  our  father  gave  us.  To  Sir  Roger  de  Clarendon 
a  silk  bed.  To  Sir  Robert  de  Walsham,  our  Confessor,  a  large  bed 
of  red  camora,  with  our  arms  embroidered  at  each  corner ;  also 
embroidered  with  the  arms  of  Hereford.  To  Mons.  Alayne  Cheyne 
our  bed  of  camora  powdered  with  blue  eagles.  And  we  bequeath 
all  our  goods  and  chattels,  jewels,  &c.,  for  the  payment  of  our 
funeral  and  debts ;  after  which  we  Will  that  our  executors  pay 
certain  legacies  to  our  poor  servants.  All  annuities  which  we 
have  given  to  our  Knights,  Esquires,  and  other  our  followers,  in 
reward  for  their  services,  we  desire  to  be  fully  paid.  And  we 
charge  our  son  Richard,  on  our  blessing,  that  he  fulfil  our  bequests 
to  them.  And  we  appoint  our  very  dear  and  beloved  brother  of 
Spain,  Duke  of  Lancaster ;  the  Reverend  Fathers  in  God,  William 
Bishop  of  Winchester,  John  Bishop  of  Bath;  William  Bishop  of 
Asaph ;  our  Confessor,  Sir  Robert  de  Walsham ;  Hugh  de  Segrave, 
Steward  of  our  Lands ;  Aleyn  Stokes ;  and  John  Fordham,  our 
executors.  In  testimony  of  which  we  have  put  to  this  our  last 
Will   our  privy  seal,   &c." 

"  Published  by  John  Ormesheved,  Clerk,  in  the  year  1376,  in  the 
presence  of  John  Bishop  of  Hereford,  Domini  Lewis  Clifford, 
Nicholas  Bonde,  and  Nicholas  de  Scharnesford,  Knights,  and 
William  de  Walsham,  Clerk ;  and  of  many  other  Kjiights,  Clerks, 
and  Esquires.     Proved  4  idus  June,  1376." 

Will  of  Lady  Alice  West 

(1395) 

Some  wills,  although  they  cannot  be  called  curious,  are  highly 
interesting,  and  excite  great  curiosity  in  the  reader.  For  instance. 
Lady  Alice  West,  widow  of  Sir  Thomas  West  who  fought  at  the 
Battle  of  Crecy,  and  an  ancestress  of  the  De  la  Warr  family,  by 
her  will,  dated  July  15,  1395,  and  proved  on  September  1  following^ 


ANCIENT,   CURIOUS,   AND  FAMOUS  WILLS        31 

bequeaths  to  "  Johane  my  doughter,  my  sone  is  wyf,  a  masse  book, 
and  alle  the  bokes  that  I  have  of  latyn,  englisch,  and  frencsh, 
out  take  the  forsayd  matyns  book  that  is  bequeth  to  Thomas  my 
sone."  Who  can  help  wondering  what  books,  and  particularly 
what  English  books,  this  good  old  lady  had  at  a  period  five  years 
before  the  death  of  Chaucer,  and  nearly  eighty  years  before  the 
first  book  was  printed  in  England  ?  Perhaps  two  of  them  were 
Robert  of  Gloucester's  "Rhyming  Chronicles  of  England,"  and 
Robert  Langland's  "The  Vision  of  Piers  Ploughman." 

Will  of  Lady  Alice  Wyndsore 

(1400) 

"  Will  of  Alice,  widow  of  William  Wyndsore,  Knight,  at  Upmyn- 
ster,  on  the  Assumption  of  the  Virgin  Mary,  August  15th,  1400, 
1  Henry  IV.  My  body  to  be  buried  in  the  parish  Church  of  Up- 
mynster  on  the  north  side  before  the  altar  of  our  Lady  the  Virgin ; 
to  the  said  Church  one  of  my  best  oxen  for  a  mortuary ;  for  wax  to 
burn  about  my  body  forty  shillings ;  for  ornaments  to  the  said 
Church  ten  marks ;  for  repairing  the  highways  near  the  town  forty 
shillings ;  I  Will  that  ten  marks  be  distributed  to  the  poor  on  the 
day  of  my  sepulture ;  to  the  Chaplain  six  marks ;  to  John  Pelham, 
Sacrist  of  that  Church,  three  shillings  and  four  pence ;  to  Joane,  my 
younger  daughter,  my  manor  of  Gaynes,  in  Upmynster;  to  Jane 
and  Joane,  my  daughters,  all  my  other  manors  and  advowsons 
which  John  Wyndsore,  or  others,  have,  by  his  consent,  usurped, 
the  which  I  desire  my  heirs  and  executors  to  recover  and  see  them 
parted  between  my  daughters,  for  that  I  say,  on  the  pain  of  my 
soul,  he  hath  no  right  there  nor  never  had  ;  my  manor  of  Compton 
Murdac;  to  the  poor  of  Upminster  xx  shillings.  And  I  appoint 
Joane,  my  youngest  daughter ;  John  Kent,  Mercer  of  London,  my 
Executors ;  and  Sir  John  Cusson,  Knight,  and  Robert  de  Litton, 
Esquire,  Overseers  of  this  my  Will." 

Will  of  Lady  Joane  Hungerford 

(1411) 

"Will  of  Joane  Lady  Hungerford,  February  1,  1411.  My  body 
to  be  buried  in  the  Chapel  of  St.  Anne,  in  the  Parish  Church  of 
Farleigh,  Hungerford,  next  to  the  grave  of  my  husband.  I  Will  that, 
with  all  possible  speed  after  my  decease,  my  executors  cause  three 
thousand  masses  to  be  said  for  my  soul,  and  for  the  souls  of  all  the 


32        ANCIENT,   CURIOUS,  AND  FAMOUS  WILLS 

faithful  deceased.  Also  I  desire  on  my  burial  day  that  twelve 
torches  and  two  tapers  burn  about  my  body,  and  that  twelve  poor 
women,  holding  the  said  torches,  be  cloathed  in  russet,  with  linen 
hoods,  and  having  stockings  and  shoes  suitable.  I  Will  that  ten 
pounds  be  bestowed  to  buy  black  cloth  for  the  cloathing  of  my 
sons  and  daughters,  as  likewise  for  the  sons  and  daughters  of  all 
my  domestic  servants.  I  Will  that  the  two  hundred  marks  now 
in  the  hands  of  my  son.  Sir  Walter  Hungerford,  be  given  to  found 
a  perpetual  chantry  of  one  chaplain,  to  celebrate  divine  service 
in  the  Chapel  of  St.  Anne,  in  the  north  part  of  the  said  Church  of 
Farleigh,  for  the  health  of  my  soul,  and  the  soul  of  my  husband, 
and  for  the  souls  of  all  our  ancestors  forever;  to  Katherine,  the 
wife  of  my  said  son  Walter,  my  black  mantle  furred  with  minever, 
and  to  Thomas  his  son  a  green  bed,  embroidered  with  one  grey- 
hound." 

Will  of  Richard  Berne 

(1461) 

"  Will  of  Richard  Berne,  of  Canterbury,  28th  April,  1461.  My 
body  to  be  buried  in  the  aisle  before  the  cross,  in  the  south  part  of 
St.  Paul's,  at  Canterbury.  To  the  rebuilding  of  the  bell  tower  of  the 
monastery  of  St.  Augustine  ix  /.  to  be  paid  as  soon  as  the  said  work 
shall  be  begun ;  to  the  prisoners  of  the  Castle  of  Canterbury  and 
of  Westgate  vi  s.  viii  d.  each ;  to  the  Prioress  of  the  Church  of  St. 
Sepulchre,  towards  the  works  of  her  Church,  xiii  s.  iv  d. ;  to  the 
repair  of  the  highway  leading  towards  Sandwich,  by  St.  Martin's 
Hill  and  the  Fishpoole,  x  I. ;  towards  the  repair  of  the  highway  in 
the  Winecheape,  between  BirchoUe's  Place  and  St.  James's  Hospi- 
tal, xL;  to  Joan,  my  wife,  my  furniture  and  my  best  cart,  and  my 
five  horses  fit  to  draw  it,  with  all  their  harness ;  to  the  building  of 
the  new  bell  tower  of  Tenterden  vi  s.  viii  d." 

The  Will  of  Thomas  Windsor,  Esq. 

(1479) 

"  Item.  I  Will  that  I  have  brennying  (burning)  at  my  burying 
and  funeral  service  four  tapers  and  twenty-two  torches  of  wax, 
every  taper  to  contain  the  weight  of  ten  pounds  and  every  torch 
sixteen  pounds,  which  I  Will  that  twenty-four  very  poor  men  and 
well  disposed  shall  hold,  as  well  at  the  time  of  my  burying  as  at  my 
monethe's  minde  (month's  remembrance). 


ANCIENT,   CURIOUS,  AND  FAMOUS  WILLS        33 

"  Item.  I  Will  that  after  my  monethe's  minde  done,  the  said 
four  tapers  be  delivered  to  the  church-wardens,  &c. 

"  And  that  there  be  100  children  within  the  age  of  12  years,  to 
be  at  my  monethe's  minde  to  pray  for  my  soul  .  .  .  that  against 
my  monethe's  minde  the  candles  bren  (burn)  before  the  rude  in 
the  Parish  Church. 

"  Also  that  at  my  monethe's  minde  my  executors  provide  20 
priests  to  sing  plucebo  dirige,  &c." 

The  Will  of  Sir  Richard  Hamerton,  Knt. 

(1480) 

This  will  be  found  interesting  from  the  characteristic  style  and 
quaint  orthography  in  which  it  is  penned ;  the  detail,  too,  is  emi- 
nently suggestive  of  a  simpHcity  in  the  individual  mind  of  the  testa- 
tor as  well  as  of  the  social  tone  of  the  times,  much  at  variance  with 
the  more  complicated  habits  of  our  own  day.  Sir  Richard,  it  must 
be  remarked,  was  "  the  head  of  one  of  the  most  ancient  and  illus- 
trious of  the  Craven  families,  the  representatives  of  which  still 
flourish  and  count  up  to  more  than  twenty  generations  of  Hamer- 
ton's." 

"Richard  Hamerton,  knyghte,  in  my  hole  mynde  and  witt. 
To  be  beryed  in  the  kirke  of  Preston  in  Craven,  in  the  chapell  of 
Our  Ladye  and  Seignt  Anne,  in  the  southe  syde  of  the  saide  kirke, 
wherein  a  chauntery  is  founded  for  a  prest  in  perpetuite  to  syng 
for  Lawrence  Hamerton,  esquier,  and  me,  the  said  Richard  Hamer- 
ton, knyghte,  our  wyffes,  our  childre,  and  all  our  ancestres. 

"Item :  I  gyff  in  the  name  of  my  mortuary  my  beste  hors,  with 
my  sadell,  bridell,  and  othre  thingis  pertenying  to  the  same. 

"Item:  I  bequeth  to  the  abbot  and  convent  of  the  monastery 
of  Sallay  a  standing  maser  covered  and  gilted,  to  pray  for  me. 

"Item:  I  bequeth  to  my  son  WiUiam  my  best  whyte  cupp  of 
sylver  standing.  ^ 

"Item  :  To  my  son  Sir  Stephen  my  salet  gilted,  ij  basyns,  ij  lavers, 
ij  chafours,  ij  pottes,  vj  doublers,  xij  dysshes,  and  vj  sausers,  accord- 
ing to  my  fader  will,  as  apperith  folowyng :  i.e.  to  the  saide  Sir 
Stephen  and  to  the  heires  male  of  his  body ;  and  for  defaute,  then  to 
Raner  Hamerton,  son  of  John  Hamerton,  broder  to  the  saide  Sir 
Stephen;  then  to  Roger  Hamerton,  broder  to  the  saide  Raner; 
then  to  Wilham  Hamerton,  broder  to  the  saide  Sir  Stephen ;  and 
for  defaute  I  wille  that  the  saide  sylver  plate  shalle  remayne  to 


34        ANCIENT,  CURIOUS,  AND  FAMOUS  WILLS 

the  abbot  and  convente  of  the  monastery  of  Sallay  for  evermore ; 
for  which  the  saide  abbot  and  convente  and  ther  successoures  shall 
praye  for  the  saules  of  the  said  Lawrence  Hamerton  and  Isabell  his 
wyffe,  and  me,  the  saide  Richarde  and  Dame  Elizabeth  my 
wyffe,  our  childre  saules,  and  all  our  auncestres,  and  for  those  saules 
whose  bodyes  we  wer  most  behalden  unto  in  ther  lyffes,  and  for  all 
Cristen  saules. 

"Item :  I  bequeth  to  my  saide  son,  Sr.  Stephen,  the  tabel  in  the 
chapell,  wt.  all  thingis  belongyng  the  same,  a  ladell,  ij  brasse  pottes 
of  the  grettest,  ij  garingsshe  of  pewder  vessell,  a  chargiom,  a  hand- 
reth  of  yern  iiij  fete,  iiij  lange  spyttes  of  yren.  To  my  nevewe, 
John  Hamerton,  my  grete  countour  in  the  hall.  To  my  nese,  his 
wyffe,  a  standing  cuppe  of  sylver  dim  gilt. 

"To  my  broder  James  ij  oxen,  and  also  my  wyffe  hath  given  to 
hym  ij  whyes. 

"To  Raner  Hamerton  a  horse  of  ij  yeres  olde  ambulyng,  another 
of  the  same  age  that  ambulys  to  Roger  Hamerton. 

"To  Cristofer  Jakson,  a  stot  and  xiij  s.  iiij  d.  of  money.  To 
Richard  Clerk  a  don  hors  and  xiij  s.  iiij  d. 

"To  John  Rayngill,  a  stot  and  whye.  To  Thomas  Kay  a  stot 
of  ij  yeres  olde.     To  William  Iveson  a  styrk. 

"To  William  Fisshe  a  whye  styrk.  To  Robert  Coke  a  styrk 
and  a  whye.  To  Majory  Stowte  a  whye  of  age.  To  William  Stan- 
den  an  oxe. 

"Item :  I  bequeth  to  a  priest  xij  mark  to  syng  ij  yeres  for  my 
saule,  and  my  wyffe,  and  all  Cristen  saules.  To  iiij  orders  of  Freres 
iiij  I.  To  the  Prior  and  Convent  of  the  Monastery  of  Bolton  xl  s. 
I  bekueth  x  marke  to  be  distribute  emonge  my  pore  tennantes 
and  neghtburs.  I  bequeth  x  marc  to  be  distribute  emonge  pore 
falkes  at  the  daye  of  my  burying.  I  ordene  and  mak  my  wyffe, 
Dame  Elizabeth,  my  sones.  Sir  Stephen  and  William  Hamerton, 
myn  executors.  I  bequeth  ij  stottes  to  Wilham  Scarburgh.  To 
Richard  Hamerton,  my  broder  James  son,  a  fylle  of  iij  yere.  To 
my  wyffe  a  wayne  wt.  vj  oxen.  To  my  son  William  an  othir  wayne 
and  vj  oxen.     To  John  Ellis  the  yonger  a  mair. 

"Testibus  Ricardo  Parisshe,  Ablate  de  Sallay,  et  Willelmo 
Scarburgh  generoso." 


ANCIENT,   CURIOUS,  AND  FAMOUS  WILLS        35 

Will  of  "Arlotto,  the  Parson" 

(1483) 

"Arlotto,  the  Parson,"  who  is  described  as  an  Italian  priest  of 
"infinite  jest  and  most  excellent  fancy,"  who  died  in  1483,  left 
among  his  testamentary  documents  a  wish  that  the  following 
words  should  be  placed  upon  his  tomb  :  "This  sepulchre  was  made 
by  the  parson  Arlotto,  for  himself  and  for  any  other  man  who 
may  desire  to  enter  therein."  These  words  remained  upon  his 
tomb  until  they  were  obhterated  by  time. 

Will  of  John  Turvyle 

(1500) 

In  a  will  written  about  the  year  1500,  that  of  John  Turvyle, 
of  Newhall,  Leicestershire,  "Squyer,"  there  is  a  bequest  to  William, 
his  "son  and  heire  apparant,"  of  "a  bason  and  an  ewer  of  silver, 
warnyng  and  chargyng  him,  on  my  blessyng,  and  as  he  will  answere 
afore  God  at  the  day  of  dome,  that  he  shall  bequeith  them  after 
his  decesse  to  his  son  and  heire  apparant,  and  so  under  this  manner 
and  condicion  the  forsayd  basyn  and  ewer  of  silver  to  go  from  heire 
to  heire  while  the  world  endure th."  Which  seems  to  show  that 
the  modern  system  of  making  particular  articles  heirlooms  to  go 
with  the  estates,  so  that  they  should  be  kept  in  the  family,  had  not 
then  been  invented. 

Will  of  Alice  Love 
(1506) 

A  specimen  of  a  lady's  will  gives  some  idea  of  the  costumes  and 
fashions  of  the  day,  and  the  store  placed  upon  their  wardrobes, 
which  were  not  so  easily  replenished  as  they  are  now : 

"  In  the  name  of  God,  amen  —  the  6th  daye  of  the  moneth  of 
Octobre  in  the  yere  of  our  Lord  God  a  thousand  fy ve  hundred  and 
sixe,  I,  Alice  Love,  the  wife  of  Gyles  Love  of  Rye,  by  the  speciall 
license  of  my  said  husband,  asked  and  opteyned  [What  does  the 
modern  woman  think  of  this?],  bequeath  my  parapharnalle  —  that 
is  to  seye,  myn  apparaill  to  my  body  belonging.  First,  I  bequeith 
my  sowle  unto  Almighty  God,  to  our  blessed  Lady  and  to  alle 
Saynts,  my  body  to  be  buried  in  the  chirch  yarde  of  Rye  nigh  my 
husband's  Thomas  Oxenbridge.  [It  will  be  seen  that  Gyles  Love  was 
this  Lady's  second  husband.]  Item,  to  my  moder  my  graye  furred 
gowne  with  a  long  trayne ;  also  a  gowne  clothe  of  russet,  not  made. 


36        ANCIENT,  CURIOUS,  AND  FAMOUS  WILLS 

Item,  to  my  suster  Mercy  my  best  violet  gowne  furred  with  shanks. 
Item,  to  Margarette  PhiHp  my  best  wolstede  kyrtilL  Also  I  gyve  to 
my  suster  Mercy  my  dymysent  with  peerles  and  a  corse  of  gold. 
Item,  to  Thomas  Oxenbridge  my  best  gilt  gyrdell  that  my  husband 
Thomas  Oxenbridge  bought  me  to  my  wedding.  Item,  to  Robert 
Oxenbridge  a  rede  powdred  corse,  with  a  good  harness,  and  to 
everiche  of  them  a  paire  of  bedys  of  rede  corall.  Item,  to  Besse 
Love  my  best  crymsyn  gowne,  also  her  moder's  best  girdell  and 
her  best  bedys.  Also  to  my  suster  Elizabeth  Duke  a  long  girdell 
gilt  with  a  golden  corse." 

Will  of  Christopher  Columbus 
(1506) 

There  seems  to  be  much  confusion  as  to  the  will  of  Columbus,  al- 
though, in  1498,  he  made  one,  and  it  is  known  to  have  existed  in 
1530 ;  but  it  is  asserted  that  it  was  unsigned,  and,  moreover,  that 
it  was  nullified  by  a  later  will  he  made  in  1502,  but  which  also  is  not 
to  be  found  at  the  present  time. 

The  only  authentic  will  of  his,  therefore,  that  has  descended  to  us 
is  that  preserved  at  Genoa,  but  which  can  only  be  called  a  codicil. 

It  is  written  on  the  fly-leaf  of  a  book  of  "Hours,"  richly  bound 
and  adorned,  which  Columbus  had  received  from  Pope  Alexander 
VI.,  and  to  which  he  attached  the  greatest  value ;  indeed,  this  is 
apparent,  from  the  fact  that  it  is  the  first  object  of  which  he  dis- 
poses in  this  same  codicil : 

Codicillus  more  militari  Christopheri  Colombi. 

Cum  SS  Alexander,  PP.  VI.,  me  hoc  devatissimo  precum  libello 
honoravit,  summum  mihi  prsebente  solatium  in  captivitatibus,  prse- 
His  et  adversitatibus  meis,  volo  ut  post  mortem  meam  pro  memoria 
tradatur  amantissimse  mese  patriae  republics  Genuensi;  et  ob 
beneficia  in  eadem  urbe  recepta  volo  ex  stabilibus  in  Italia  redditi- 
hus  erigi  ibidem  novum  hospitale,  ac  pro  pauperum  in  patria  meli- 
ori  substentatione,  deficientique  linea  mea  masculina  in  admiraltu 
meo  Indiarum  et  annexis  juxta  privilegiis  dicti  regis  insuccessorem 
declaro  et  substituo  eamdem  rempublicam  Sancti  Georgii.] 

Datum  Valledohti,  4  Mali,  1506. 
s. 

S.    A.    S. 

X.    M.  V. 

XPOFERENS. 


ANCIENT,   CURIOUS,  AND  FAMOUS  WILLS        37 

The  initial  letters  which  precede  the  signature  of  the  Christian 
name  of  Columbus  (altered,  however,  into  Chnsto-ferens)  have 
never  been  explained,  any  more  than  the  two  eagles  which  also  pre- 
cede it ;  this  spelling,  however,  need  throw  no  doubt  on  its  authen- 
ticity, as  it  is  identical  with  the  signatures  of  two  letters,  dated 
respectively  1502  and  1504,  addressed  to  the  Ambassador,  Nicolas 
Oderigo. 

Will  of  Henry  VII 

(1510) 

Henry  VII.  desires  in  his  will  that  "our  executors  and  supervi- 
sors and  executors  of  our  testament  have  a  special  respect,  in  our 
funeral,  to  the  laud  and  praising  of  God,  the  health  of  our  soul,  and 
somewhat  to  our  dignity  royal,  but  avoiding  damnable  pomp  and 
outrageous  superfluities." 

Will  of  Erasmus 
(1536) 

The  town  of  Bale  possesses  together  with  the  will  of  Erasmus, 
the  ring,  seal,  sword,  knife,  pen,  and  the  portrait  by  Holbein  of 
that  great  and  celebrated  man. 

The  will  was  drawn  up  in  Latin,  five  months  prior  to  his  decease, 
12th  February,  1536 ;  we  subjoin  a  hteral  translation  of  this  inter- 
esting document. 

"  In  the  name  of  the  Holy  Trinity, 

"I,  Dediderius  Erasmus  of  Rotterdam,  honoured  with  the  flatter- 
ing diplomas  of  the  Emperor,  the  Sovereign  Pontiff,  and  renowned 
magistrate  pf  the  celebrated  city  of  Bale,  declare  that  this  act, 
written  in  my  own  hand,  contains  my  last  wishes;  and  I  desire 
that  they  may  be  ratified  and  confirmed  in  every  particular,  annul- 
ling all  previous  dispositions  that  I  may  have  made. 

"Certain  as  I  am  that  I  have  no  legitimate  heir  (Erasmus  was  a 
natural  son,  and  was  never  married),  I  appoint  as  my  universal 
heir,  the  very  honourable  Boniface  Amerbach  ;  and  I  name  as  my 
testamentary  executors  Jerome  Froben  and  Nicholas  Biscop, 
brother-in-law  of  Froben. 

"I  have  already  sold  my  library  to  Jean  de  Lasco,  a  Pole,  as  may 
be  seen  by  an  act  passed  between  us,  and  signed  by  both  ;  but  my 
books  are  only  to  be  delivered  to  him  when  he  shall  have  handed 
over  two  hundred  florins  to  my  heir;   and  in  case  he  should  have 


38        ANCIENT,  CURIOUS,  AND  FAMOUS   WILLS 

destroyed  the  act  above  named,  or  should  die  before  me,  my  heir  is 
at  Hberty  to  dispose  of  my  books  as  he  may  please. 

"I  bequeath  and  give  to  Louis  Ber  my  gold  watch;  to  Beatus 
Rhenanus  a  golden  spoon,  and  a  fork  of  the  same  metal ;  to  Pietro 
Veteri  one  hundred  and  fifty  gold  crowns ;  to  Philip  Montanus  the 
same  sum;  to  my  servant  Lambert  —  should  he  still  be  in  my  ser- 
vice at  the  time  of  my  death  —  two  hundred  gold  florins,  unless  I 
should  give  them  to  him  during  my  hfe ;  to  Jehan  de  Brisgaw  my 
scent-bottle  of  silver ;  to  Paul  Voltzius  one  hundred  gold  florins ; 
to  Sigismund  Gelenius  five  hundred  ducats;  to  Jehan  Erasmus 
Froben,  two  rings,  of  which  one  has  no  stone,  the  other  a  green  (  ?) 
stone  called  by  the  French  turquoise. 

"  I  bequeath  and  give  to  Jerome  Froben  all  my  garments  and  all 
my  furniture ;  i.e.  all  that  composes  it,  whether  in  woollen  or  linen 
for  the  former,  in  wood  or  other  material  for  the  latter.  I  give 
him  besides,  my  goblet  marked  with  the  arms  of  the  Cardinal  de 
Mayence.  I  give  to  his  wife  my  ring,  bearing  the  effigy  of  a  woman 
looking  behind  her. 

"I  give  to  Nicholas  Biscop,  my  cup  with  its  cover,  on  the  foot  of 
which  there  are  verses  engraved ;  and  to  Justine,  his  wife,  two  gold 
rings  of  which  one  has  a  diamond,  the  other  a  small  turquoise. 
I  give  to  Conrad  Goclenius  my  silver  cup,  surmounted  by  a  figure 
of  Fortune.  If  one  of  my  legatees  should  come  to  die,  I  leave  the 
legacy  thus  lapsed  at  the  disposition  of  my  heir. 

"My  said  heir  is  to  have,  besides  the  objects  already  devised  to 
him,  all  that  shall  remain  of  my  tazzas,  rings,  and  other  similar  ar- 
ticles, including  the  medals  bearing  the  effigy  of  the  King  of  Poland, 
Severin  Boner,  etc. ;  and  all  the  double  and  quadruple  ducats.  He 
is  to  have  the  money  I  have  deposited  with  Conrad  Goclenius  that 
he  may  dispose  of  it  in  Brabant,  as  I  have  recommended  to  him. 
If  there  should  be  anything  of  mine  still  remaining  with  Erasmus 
Schet,  he  is  to  demand  it  of  him.  He  will  employ  this  money  and 
any  other  sums  remaining  over,  according  to  the  advice  of  the  execu- 
tors, in  distributing  alms  to  the  poor,  whom  age  or  infirmity  has 
rendered  impotent,  also  for  marrying  young  girls  or  assisting  young 
people,  who  may  show  an  industrious  disposition,  to  start  in  the  world. 

"Such  is  the  act  of  my  last  will,  written  by  own  proper  hand, 
and  sealed  with  my  own  private  seal  belonging  to  my  ring,  and 
representing  the  god  Terminus.  Let  all  faith  be  accorded  to  it. 
Given  at  Bale,  in  the  house  of  Jerome  Froben,  12th  February, 
1536." 


ANCIENT,   CURIOUS,  AND  FAMOUS  WILLS        39 

Will  of  Katherine  of  Aragon 
(1536) 

"In  the  name  of  the  Father,  of  the  Son,  and  of  the  Holy  Ghost, 
Amen.  I,  Katherine,  &c.  supplicate  and  desire  King  Henry  VIII. 
my  good  Lord,  that  it  please  him  of  his  grace,  and  in  alms,  and  for 
the  service  of  God,  to  let  me  have  the  goods  which  I  do  hold,  as 
well  in  gold  and  silver  as  other  things,  and  also  the  same  that  is  due 
to  me  in  money  for  the  time  passed,  to  the  intent  that  I  may  pay 
my  debts  and  recompense  my  servants  for  the  good  service  they 
have  done  unto  me,  and  the  same  I  desire  as  efifectuously  as  I  may, 
for  the  necessity  wherein  I  am  ready  to  die  and  to  yield  my  soul 
unto  God. 

"First,  I  supplicate  that  my  body  be  buried  in  a  Convent  of 
Observant  Friars.  Item,  that  for  my  soul  may  be  said  c  masses. 
Item,  that  some  personage  go  to  our  Lady  of  Walsingham,  in  pil- 
grimage, and  in  going  by  the  way  dole  xx  nobles.  Item,  I  appoint 
to  Mistress  Darell  xx  £  for  her  marriage.  Item,  I  ordain  that  the 
collar  of  gold  which  I  brought  out  of  Spain  be  to  my  daughter.  I  or- 
dain to  Mistress  Blanche  x  £  sterling.  Item,  I  ordain  to  Mistress 
Margery,  and  to  Mistress  Whiller,  to  each  of  them  x  £  sterling. 
Item,  I  ordain  to  Mistress  Mary,  my  physician's  wife,  and  to  Mistress 
Isabel,  daughter  of  Mistress  Margery,  to  each  of  them  xl  £  sterling. 
Item,  I  ordain  to  my  physician  the  year's  coming  wages.  Item,  I 
ordain  to  Francisco  Philippe  all  that  I  owe  unto  him,  and  besides 
that  xl  £  sterling.  Item,  I  ordain  to  Mr.  John,  mine  apothecary, 
his  wages  for  the  year  coming,  and  besides  that  all  that  is  due  unto 
him.  Item,  I  ordain  that  Mr.  Whiller  be  paid  of  expense  about  the 
making  of  my  gown,  and  besides  that  of  xx  £  sterling.  Item,  I  give 
to  Philip,  to  Anthony,  and  to  Bastian,  to  every  of  themxx£  sterling. 
Item,  I  ordain  to  the  little  maidens  x  £  to  every  of  them.  Item,  I 
ordain  that  my  goldsmith  be  paid  of  his  wages  for  the  year  coming, 
and  besides  all  that  is  due  to  him  hitherto.  Item,  I  ordain  that  my 
launderer  be  paid  of  that  is  due  unto  her,  and  besides  that  of  her 
wages  for  the  year  coming.  Item,  I  ordain  to  the  Sabell  of  Vergas 
XX  £  sterling.  Item,  to  my  ghostly  father  his  wages  for  the  year 
coming.  Item,  it  may  please  the  King  my  good  Lord,  that  the 
house  ornaments  of  the  church  to  be  made  of  my  gowns,  which  he 
holdeth,  for  to  serve  the  convent  thereat  I  shall  be  buried.  And  the 
furs  of  the  same  I  give  for  my  daughter." 

Katherine  was  the  youngest  daughter  of  Ferdinand  of  Aragon 


40        ANCIENT,  CURIOUS,  AND  FAMOUS  WILLS 

and  Isabella  of  Castile.  She  was  born  about  1483  and  died  in 
1536.  On  November  14, 1501,  she  was  married  to  Arthur,  Prince 
of  Wales,  then  about  fifteen  years  of  age,  the  eldest  son  of  King 
Henry  VII. ,  who  died  about  five  months  later.  The  King,  unwilling 
to  return  her  dowry,  forced  her  to  marry  his  remaining  son,  Henry, 
who  was  created  Prince  of  Wales,  February  18,  1503,  succeeding 
to  the  throne  as  Henry  VIII.  on  April  21st,  1509.  On  the  24th  of 
June  in  the  same  year,  they  were  crowned  at  Westminster.  Her 
only  child,  Mary,  was  born  on  February  15,  1518,  and  succeeded 
her  half-brother.  King  Edward  VI.,  as  Queen  of  England  July  6, 
1553.  The  history  of  this  unfortunate,  but  worthy  queen,  is  too 
well  known  to  need  further  comment. 

Will  of  Sib  William  Pelham,  Knt. 

(1538) 

"  In  the  name  of  God.  Amen.  26th  Oct.,  the  yeare  of  our 
Lord  God  a  thousande  fyve  hundred  thirty  and  eight.  I,  William 
Pelham,  Knt.,  in  the  countie  of  Sussex,  being  hole  in  mynde  and 
of  good  memory,  doth  make  and  ordeign  my  last  will  and  testa- 
ment in  manner  and  fourme  followinge : 

"First :  I  bequeth  my  soule  to  Almighty  God  my  Creator,  and 
to  all  the  Company  of  Hevyn ;  and  my  body  to  be  buried  in  the 
Chauncel  of  Laugh  ton. 

"  Item :  I  bequeth  vi.  I.  xiii  s.  ii  d.  for  twenty  sermons  to  be 
preached  in  Laugh  ton,  and  in  the  parishes  thereabouts. 

"Item:  I  will  that  my  three  sonnes,  William,  Francis,  and 
Edwarde,  shall  have  twenty  poundes  sterlinge  by  the  yere  during 
their  Ivyes,  owte  of  my  lands,  to  be  divided  equally  between  them 
into  three  parts,  and  my  wyfife  to  have  the  same,  twenty  poundes, 
every  yere  during  the  tyme  of  their  nonage,  towards  their  fynd- 
inge,  forthwith  after  my  deth. 

"  Item :  I  bequeth  a  thousande  marks  sterlinge  to  be  levyed 
upon  my  woods,  to  the  marriage  of  my  fyve  daughters,  that  is  to 
say :  Bryget,  Margaret,  Mary,  Anne,  and  Jane,  and  to  be  equally 
between  them. 

"Item:    I  bequeth  to  John  Devynyshe,  my  best  geldinge. 

"The  residue  of  all  my  goodes,  debts,  stuffe,  and  substance, 
I  geve  unto  Mary  my  wyffe,  whom  I  make  myn  executrix  of  this 
my  last  will. 

"These  being  witnesses,  Mary  my  wiffe,  Nicholas  my  sonne  and 


ANCIENT,  CURIOUS,  AND  FAMOUS  WILLS        41 

his  wyffe,  John  Devynyshe,  gentilman.  Sir  Robert  Fourde  Freest, 
with  many  other." 

Will  of  Martin  Luther 

(1542) 

There  seems  to  be  considerable  obscurity  about  the  authenticity 
of  this  document.  The  learned  Dutchman,  M.  Van  Proet  (who 
gives  as  his  authority  the  Dutch  translation  of  the  "History  of 
the  Reformation"),  says  that  "the  will  of  Luther  is  to  be  found 
in  its  entirety  in  the  eighth  volume  of  the  works  of  Luther  (Al- 
tenburg  edition);  that  the  original,  on  parchment,  was  formerly 
in  the  hands  of  Carpzovius,  and  that  that  original,  signed  by 
Melancthon,  Crucigerus,  and  Bugenhagenius  (or  Pomeranus)  dif- 
fered in  some  places  from  the  printed  copy." 

Seckendorflf  of  Bale,  in  his  Commentary,  lib.  iii.  sects.  36  and 
135,  p.  651,  speaks  thus  of  it,  and  it  will  be  seen  that  Luther  does 
not  err  on  the  side  of  modesty : 

"  De  Testamento  Lutheri.  —  Testatus  est,  ut  exemplar,  tom.  viii. 
Altenb.  fol.  846,  relatum  ostendit,  anno  1542,  die  Euphemise  (16 
Septembris),  uxoris  potissimum  gratia,  cui  testamentum  perhibet 
probitatis,  fidelitatis  et  honestatis,  et  quod  ab  ea  semper  amatus 
et  omnibus  officiis  cultus  sit;  nee  fecunditatem  tacet,  quod 
quinque  liberos  turn  viventes  ediderit.  (Observatum  est  ex 
litteris  Pontani  post  mortem  Lutheri  ad  electorum  scriptis, 
quod  uxor  Lutheri  animum  paulo  elatiorem  et  imperiosum  habuisse 
visa  sit,  et  quod  tenax  in  victu  domestico  sumptuosa  tamen  fuerit 
in  sedificia,  imprimis  in  prsedium  illud  Zeusldorff  quod  ei  in  hac 
dispositione  sua  dotali  nomine  Lutherus  assignaverat.  Sed 
tolerabiles  illi  nsevi  fuerunt,  nee  ab  omnibus  immunem  cam  judi- 
cavit  ipse  Lutherus,  licet  eam  tenere  amaret.  .  .  .)  Non  tam 
conditionem  adjecit  iis  quae  uxori  destinaverat,  quam  fiduciam 
testatus  est:  quod  uxor,  si  ad  secunda  vota  transiret  (id  quod 
ipsius  voluntati  et  divinae  providentiae  prorsus  committit),  omnia 
cum  liberis  divisura  sit.  Liberos  vero  mavult  a  matre  quam  banc 
ab  illis  dependere,  exemplis  se  territum  dicens,  quam  inique  ssepe 
liberi  tractent.  Denique  omissa  omni  solemnitate  legali  confidere 
se  ait,  majorem  fidem  se  mereri  quam  notarium  quemque. 

"Notus  sum,"  inquit  "in  coelo,  in  terra,  et  in  inferno,  et  auctori- 
tatem  ad  hoc  sufficientera  habeo  ut  mihi  solo  credatur,  cum  Deus 
mihi  homini  licet  damnabili  et  misera  peccatori,  ex  paterna  miseri- 
cordia  Evangelium  filii  sui  crediderit,  dederitque  ut  in  eo  verax 


42        ANCIENT,  CURIOUS,  AND  FAMOUS  WILLS 

et  fidelis  fuerim,  ita  ut  multi  in  mundo  illud  per  me  acceperint, 
et  me  pro  doctore  veritatis  agnoverint,  spreto  banno  papae,  Csesaris, 
regum,  principum  et  sacerdotum,  imo  omnium  dsemonium  odio : 
Quidni  igitur  ad  dispositionem  hanc  in  re  exigua  sufficiat,  si  adsit 
manus  mese  testimonium  et  dici  possit,  haec  scripsit  D.  Martinus 
Lutherus,  notarius  Dei  et  testis  Evangelii  ejus. 

"Additse  tamen  sunt  subscriptiones  Melancthonis,  Crucigeri 
et  Pomerani,  sed  alio  tempore. 

"Elector  vero  Saxonise  rogatus  a  vidua  diplomate  domino  judica 
hoc  anno  (10  April)  dato,  testamentum  Lutheri  conservavit,  jubens 
ut  illud  etsi  solemnitates  a  legibus  requisitae  abessent  validum 
haberetur  et  observaretur.  ..." 

Our  readers  will  doubtless  remember  that  this  curious  and  char- 
acteristic fragment  has  been  quoted  by  Robertson,  in  a  note  to  his 
history  of  Charles  Quint,  vol.  v. 

Some  time  ago  the  Evangelical  Church  in  Hungary  believed 
itself  possessed  of  the  original  last  will  and  testament  of  the  great 
Protestant  reformer,  Martin  Luther.  The  genuineness  of  the 
document  was,  in  fact,  attested  as  undoubted  by  a  special  com- 
mission appointed  to  determine  that  question.  The  members  of 
this  body,  however,  did  not  consist  of  historical  scholars,  but 
chiefly  of  noted  members  of  Parliament.  Accordingly,  before  long 
it  was  shown,  upon  the  evidence  of  Professor  Rancke's  researches, 
that  the  only  real  testament  of  Luther  —  that  written  with  his  own 
hand  —  is,  as  a  matter  of  fact,  in  the  Heidelberg  Library,  and  is 
there  kept  in  a  glass  case  for  the  inspection  of  visitors.  It  has 
also  been  satisfactorily  proved  that  the  will  in  the  possession  of  the 
Hungarian  Evangelicals,  though  written  in  a  hand  exactly  like 
Luther's,  is  not  his,  but  the  work  of  one  of  his  disciples,  Henterus, 
who  introduced  the  reformation  into  Transylvania;  he  made  a 
true  copy,  even  to  the  very  handwriting,  of  the  last  will  and  testa- 
ment of  his  master. 

Will  of  Hans  Holbein 

(1543) 

Hans  Holbein,  the  younger,  belonged  to  a  celebrated  family  of 
German  painters.  His  great  paintings  are  scattered  throughout 
the  galleries  of  the  world;  his  last  years  were  spent  in  England, 
where  he  gained  both  success  and  fame.  He  died  in  London,  of  the 
plague,  in  1543.     His  will,  written  shortly  before  his  death,  was 


ANCIENT,  CURIOUS,  AND  FAMOUS  WILLS        43 

found  in  the  archives  of  St.  Paul's  Cathedral  in  1861  and  bears 
evidence  of  having  been  written  in  haste,  as  it  probably  was. 

It  reads  as  follows : 

"In  the  name  of  God  the  Father,  Sonne,  and  Holy  Ghoste,  I, 
Johan  Holbeine,  servante  of  the  King's  Majistie,  make  this  my 
testamente  and  will,  to  wyt,  that  alle  my  goodes  shall  be  sold,  and 
also  my  horse ;  and  I  will  that  my  debtes  be  payd  to  wyt :  furste 
to  Mr.  Anthony  the  kynges  servant  of  Greenwiche,  ye  summe  of 
ten  poundes  thirtien  shyllinges  and  sewyne  pence  sterlinge. 

"And,  moreover,  I  will  that  he  shal  be  contented  for  all  other 
thynges  between  him  and  me. 

"Item :  I  do  owe  unto  Mr.  John  of  Anwarpe,  Goldsmythe,  saxe 
pounds  sterling,  which  I  will  alsoe  shalle  be  payde  unto  hyme  with 
the  fyrste, 

"Item :  I  bequeathe  for  the  kypyng  of  my  two  chylder,  which  be 
atte  nurse,  for  every  monthe,  seyvene  shellinges,  and  sexpence 
styrlynge. 

"  In  wytnes  I  have  sealed  and  sealed  thys  my  testamente,  thys 
sexthe  daye  of  October,  in  the  yeare  of  our  Lorde  MIVCXLIIJ. 

"Wytnes,  Anthony  Snetcher,  Armerer,  Mr.  John  of  Anwarpe, 
aforesaid,  Goldsmythe,  Obrycke  Obynger,  Merchante  and  Harry 
Maynaert,  Paynter." 

Will  of  King  Henry  VIII 

(1547) 

The  greatest  testamentary  powers  ever  conferred  on  an  English 
king  were  given  to  Henry  VIII.  by  25  Henry  VIII.  c.  7,  empowering 
him  to  limit  and  appoint  the  succession  to  the  Crown  by  will,  in 
default  of  children  by  Jane  Seymour. 

This  will  of  Henry  VIII.  is  to  be  found  in  full  in  Nicolas's  "Testa- 
menta  Vetusta,"  a  collection  of  famous  wills,  a  work  of  great 
excellence,  prepared  in  1825.  There  are  also  to  be  found  the 
Wills  of  Henry  II.,  Henry  III.,  Henry  IV.,  Henry  V.,  Henry  VI., 
and  Henry  VII.,  as  are  those  of  other  Kings  and  Queens  of  Eng- 
land. 

Will  of  Rabelais 

(1553) 

The  will  of  this  ingenious  satirist  is  adorned  (or  disfigured)  by 
a  very  characteristic  clause  :  "I  have  no  available  property,  I  owe 
a  great  deal ;  the  rest  I  give  to  the  poor." 


44        ANCIENT,   CURIOUS,  AND  FAMOUS  WILLS 

We  cannot  affirm  that  this  bull,  worthy  of  an  Irishman,  is  well 
authenticated,  any  more  than  Rabelais's  facetious  reply  to  the 
messenger  of  Cardinal  du  Belay,  whom  he  sent  to  see  how  he  fared 
in  his  last  illness:  "Je  vais  chercher  un  grand  peutetre;  tirez  le 
rideau,  la  farce  est  jouee." 

Will  of  Mary  Queen  of  Scots 

(1587) 

Mary  Stuart  was  beheaded  in  1587.  Her  will  is  to  be  found  in 
a  collection  entitled :  "Pieces  fugitives  pour  servir  a  I'Histoire  de 
France,  avec  des  notes  historiques,  par  M.  le  Baron  d'Aubais," 
1759.     This  work  is  in  5  vols.  4to,  and  the  will  is  in  the  second. 

It  is  prefaced  by  a  short  note  explanatory  of  the  attendant  cir- 
cumstances, viz.  that  it  was  written  by  the  ill-fated  queen  on  the 
eve  of  her  execution,  and  after  she  had  been  curtly,  unceremo- 
niously, and  unexpectedly  informed  it  was  to  take  place  at  eight  the 
following  morning.  The  writing  out  of  this,  and  of  an  extremely 
touching  letter  to  her  brother-in-law,  Henri  HI.,  occupied  her  until 
two  o'clock  in  the  morning,  when  she  bathed,  selected  and  put  on 
her  costliest  dress,  head-dress,  and  costume,  distributed  her  little 
store  of  ready  money  and  jewels  to  her  attendants,  retired  to  her 
oratory  and  prepared  herself  for  death.  All  this  is  minutely 
related,  also  the  manner  of  her  death ;  for  to  the  last  moment  the 
queen  was  unaware  whether  she  were  to  be  beheaded  standing  or 
with  her  head  on  the  block.  It  was,  however,  to  be  by  the  latter 
mode ;  and  the  headsman  proved  so  inexperienced,  and  his  weapon 
so  clumsy,  that  the  operation  was  only  completed  after  three  blows. 

Mary's  will  is  written  in  French,  and  is  word  for  word  as  follows  : 

"Au  nom  du  Pere,  du  Fils,  et  du  Sainct  Esprit : 

"Je,  Marie,  par  la  grace  de  Dieu  royne  d'Ecosse,  douariere  de 
France  etc. :  Estant  preste  a  mourir,  et  n'ayant  moyen  de  faire 
mon  testament,  j'ay  mis  ces  articles  par  escrit,  lesquels  j'entens 
et  veulx  avoir  meme  force  que  si  ilz  etaient  mis  en  forme. 

"Protestant,  premier  de  mourir  en  la  foi  chatolique  apostolique 
romaine. 

"Premier,  je  veulx  qui'il  soit  faict  un  service  complet  pour  mon 
ame  a  I'eglise  Sainct  Denys  en  France,  et  I'autre  a  Sainct  Pierre  de 
Reims,  ou  tons  mes  serviteurs  ce  trouveront  en  la  maniere  qu'il 
sera  ordonne  a  ceulx  a  qui  j'en  donne  la  charge  issi  dessouts 
nommez. 


ANCIENT,   CURIOUS,  AND  FAMOUS  WILLS        45 

"Plus,  qu'un  obit  annuel  soit  fonde  pour  prier  pour  mon  ame  a 
perpetuite,  a  lieu  et  en  la  maniere  qui  sera  advise  le  plus  commode. 

"Pour  a  quoy  fournir  je  veulx  que  mes  maysons  de  Fontayne- 
beleau  soient  vendues,  esperant  que  au  surplus  le  roy  m'aydera, 
corame  par  mon  memoyre  je  le  requiers. 

"Je  veulx  que  ma  terre  de  Jespagn  demeure  a  mon  cousin  de 
Guise  pour  une  de  ses  filles,  si  elle  venoit  a  estre  mariee  en  ces 
quartiers;  je  quitteray  la  moitie  des  arerages  qui  me  sont  deus, 
ou  une  partie,  a  condition  que  1 'autre  soit  payee,  pour  estre  par 
mes  executeurs  employee  en  aumosne  annuelle. 

"  Pour  a  quoi  mieulx  pro  voir,  les  papiers  seront  recherchez 
et  delivrez  selon  I'aflfination  pour  en  faire  poursuite. 

"Je  veulx  aussi  que  I'argens  que  ce  retirera  de  mon  proces  de 
secondat,  soit  distribue  comme  s'en  suit. 

"Premier,  a  la  descharge  du  poiement  de  mes  dettes  et  man- 
demens  si  aprez  nommez,  qui  me  seront  ja  paiez,  premier,  les 
deux  mille  esqus  de  Courle  que  je  veulx  luy  estre  payez  sans  nulle 
contradiction,  comme  estantz  en  faveur  de  mariage  sans  que  nous 
au  aultre  luy  en  puisse  rien  demander,  quelque  obligation  qu'il  en 
aye  d'autant  qu'elle  n'est  que  feincte  e  que  I'argent  estoit  a  moy  e 
non  emprunte,  lequel  je  ne  fis  que  luy  montray,  e  le  depuis  retire,  et 
me  on  pris  avecque  le  reste  a  Chasteley,  lequel  je  lui  donne  si  il 
le  pent  recovrer,  comme  il  a  este  promis  pour  payement  ces  quatre 
mille  franks  promis,  pour  payement  ces  quatre  mille  franks  promis 
par'mort,  et  mille  pour  marier  une  siene  soeur,  et  m'ayant  demande 
le  reste  pour  ses  despans  en  prison ;  quant  a  1 'assignation  de 
pareille  somme  a  nous,  elle  n'est  pas  d'obligation,  et  pour  ce  a 
toujours  este  mon  intention  que  elle  fust  la  derniere  payee  et  encore 
en  cas  qu'il  fasse  aparoir  n'avoir  faict  contre  la  condition  pour  la 
quelle  je  les  luy  avoist  donnez  au  temoignasge  de  mes  serviteurs. 

"Pour  la  partie  de  douze  cens  esquus  que  il  m'a  faict  alleuer 
par  lui  empruntee  pour  mon  service  de  Beauregard,  jusques  a  six 
sens  esqus  et  de  Gervays  trois  cents,  et  le  reste  je  ne  sais  d'ou,  it 
faut  qu'il  les  repoye  de  son  argent  et  que  j'en  soyes  quitte  e  I'assig- 
nation  cassee,  car  je  n'en  ay  rien  resceu,  mais  est  le  fond  en  ces 
coffres,  si  ce  n'estoit  que  ils  en  soient  payez  par  dela ;  comme  que 
ce  soit;  it  faut  que  cett  partie  me  revienne  bonne,  n'ayant  rien 
receu,  et  si  elle  estoit  payee  je  doits  avoir  recours  sur  son  lieu,  e  de 
plus,  je  veulx  que  Pasquier  compte  les  deniers  que  il  a  despandus 
e  receus  par  le  commandement  de  nous,  par  les  mains  des  serviteurs 
de  M.  de  Chasteauneuf,  I'ambassadeur  de  France. 


46        ANCIENT,   CURIOUS,  AND   FAMOUS  WILLS 

"Plus,  je  veulx  que  mes  comptes  soyent  ouys  e  mon  tresorier 
paye. 

"Plus,  que  les  gages  et  parties  de  mes  gens  tant  de  I'annee  passee 
que  de  la  presente,  soyent  tons  payez  avant  toute  autre  choze,  tant 
gages  que  pensions,  parmis  les  pensions  les  pensions  de  Jean  et  de 
Courle,  jusques  a  ce  que  Ton  sasche  ce  qui  en  doit  advenir  et  ce 
qu'ils  auront  meritez  de  raoy  pour  pensions  si  ce  n'est  que  la  fame 
de  Courle  soyt  en  necessite,  ou  luy  maltraicte  pour  moy ;  des  gages 
de  Jean  de  mesme. 

"  Je  veulx  que  les  deux  mille  quatre  cens  franks  que  j'ay  donnais 
a  Jene  Kenedi  luy  soyent  payez  en  argent,  comme  il  estoit  porte 
en  son  premier  don,  e  quoy  fesant  la  pension  de  Willi  Guillaulme 
Douglas  me  reviendra,  laquelle  je  donne  a  Fontenoy  pour  ces  ser- 
vices e  despens  non  recompansez. 

"  Je  veulx  que  les  quatre  mille  esqus  de  ce  banquier  soyent  sollisi- 
tez  e  repayez,  duquel  j'ay  oublie  le  nom  ;  mais  I'evesque  de  Glascou 
s'en  resoviendra  assez  ;  e  si  I'assignation  premiere  venoit  a  manquer, 
je  veulx  qu'il  leur  en  soyt  donne  une  sur  les  premiers  deniers  de 
secondat. 

"Les  dix  mille  franks  que  I'ambassadeur  avoyt  receux  pour  moy, 
je  veulx  qu'ilz  soyent  employ ez  entre  mes  serviteurs  qui  s'en  vont 
a  present  a  scavoir,  premier,  deux  mille  franks  a  Elizabeth  Courle ; 
deux  mille  franks  a  Basten  Pages ;  deux  mille  a  Marie  Pages,  ma 
filleule;   mille  a  Gourgon;  mille  a  Gervays. 

"Plus,  sur  les  aultres  deniers  de  mon  revenu,  a  Beauregard,  mille 
franks ;    a  Monthay,  mille  franks. 

"E  reste  de  Secondat  et  de  toutes  mes  casualitez,  je  veulx  estre 
employez  sinq  cens  franks  a  la  misericorde  des  enfans  de  Reims ; 
a  mes  escoliers,  deux  mille  franks ;  aux  quatre  mandians,  la  somme 
qu'il  sera  necessaire ;  a  mes  executeurs,  selon  les  moyens  qui  ce 
trouveront,  sinq  cens  franks  aux  hospitaulx. 

"A  I'esquier  de  cuisine  Martin,  je  donne  mille  franks;  mille 
franks  a  Hambel,  e  le  laisse  a  mon  cousin  de  Guise,  son  parein,  a  le 
mettre  en  quelque  lieu  en  son  service. 

"Je  laysse  sinq  cens  franks  a  Robin  Hamilton  et  prie  mon 
filz  le  prendre,  e  Monsieur  de  Glascou  faulte  de  luy,  ou  I'evesque 
de  Rosse. 

"  Je  laysse  a  Didier  son  grefe  sous  la  faveur  du  roy. 

"  Je  donne  sinq  cens  franks  a  Jean  Landere,  e  prie  mon  cousin  de 
Guise  ou  d'Humaine  (pour  du  Maine)  le  prendre  en  leur  service, 
e  a  Messieurs  de  Glascou  et  de  Rosse  qu'ils  ayent  soing  de  le  voir 


ANCIENT,   CURIOUS,  AND  FAMOUS  WILLS        47 

preveu ;  je  veulx  que  son  pere  soyt  paye  de  ces  gages,  et  luy  laysse 
sinq  cens  franks. 

"  Je  veulx  que  mille  franks  soyent  payez  a  Gourgeon,  pour  argent 
et  aultres  chozes  qu'ils  m'a  fournies  en  ma  necessite. 

"E  je  veulx  que  si  Bourgoin  accompli  le  voiage  du  voeu  qu'il  a 
faict  pour  moy  a  S.  Nicolas,  que  quinze  franks  lui  soyent  livres  a 
cet  effet.  Je  laysse  selon  mon  peu  de  moyen  six  mille  franks  a 
I'evesque  de  Glascou,  troys  mille  a  celuy  de  Rosse.  E  je  laysse  la 
donaison  des  alsualities  et  droicts  seigneriaux  recelez  a  mon  filleul, 
filz  de  M.  Duruisseau. 

"Je  donne  troys  cens  franks  a  Laurents,  plus  troys  cens  franks 
a  Suzanne,  e  laysse  dix  mille  franks  entre  les  quatre  parties,  qui 
ont  este  respondant  pour  moy  e  au  solliciteur  parmy. 

"  Je  veulx  que  1 'argent  provenant  des  meubles  que  j'ay  ordonnez 
estre  vendus  a  Londres  soyt  pour  defroyer  le  voyage  de  mes  gens 
jusques  en  France. 

"Ma  cosche  je  la  laysse  pour  mener  mes  filles,  e  les  chevaulx 
pour  les  vendre  ou  aultrement  en  faire  leur  commoditez. 

"II  y  a  environ  cent  esqus  des  gages  des  annees  passees  deus  a 
Bourgoin,  que  je  veulx  luy  estre  payez. 

"Je  laysse  deux  mille  franks  a  Meluin,  mon  maystre  d'hostel. 

"  Je  ordonne  pour  principal  executeur  de  ma  volonte  mon  cousin 
le  Due  de  Guise,  e  aprez  luy  I'Archevesque  de  Glascou,  I'evesque 
de  Rosse,  et  M.  Duruisseau,  mon  chancelier. 

"  J'entends  que  sans  faulte  le  preau  jouisse  de  ces  deux  prependes. 

"  Je  recommande  Marie  Pages,  ma  filleule,  a  ma  cousine  Madame 
de  Guise,  e  la  prie  de  prendre  en  son  service ;  6  ma  tante  de  S. 
Pierre  fayre  mettre  Montbraye  en  quelque  bon  lieu,  ou  la  retenir 
en  service  pour  I'honneur  de  Dieu. 

"Faict  ce  jourd'hui  7  Feubrier,  mil  sinq  cens  octante  e  sept. 

"Marie  R." 
Will  of  Alessandro  Tassoni 
(1635) 

Tassoni  was  an  Italian  diplomat,  poet  and  critic ;  he  was  born 
at  Modena  in  1565  of  an  old  patrician  family.  His  greatest 
work  was  the  publication,  "  The  Stolen  Bucket."  The  following 
are  excerpts  from  his  will : 

"  I  leave  my  soul  —  the  most  precious  thing  I  possess  —  to 
its  first  great  cause,  the  invisible,  ineffable,  eternal. 

"  As  for  my  body,  destined  as  it  is  to  corruption,  my  own 


48        ANCIENT,  CURIOUS,  AND  FAMOUS  WILLS 

desire  would  have  been  that  it  should  be  burned ;  but  that  being 
contrary  to  the  custom  of  the  religion  in  which  I  was  born,  I 
beg  those  in  whose  house  I  should  die  —  for  I  have  none  of  my 
own  —  to  bury  me  by  preference  in  consecrated  ground ;  or  if  I 
should  be  found  dead,  without  any  other  roof  over  me  than  the 
vault  of  heaven,  I  entreat  the  charitable  neighbors  or  passers-by 
to  render  me  this  last  service. 

"  My  wish  would  be  that  my  funeral  should  only  employ  one 
priest,  that  there  should  be  simply  the  small  cross  and  a  single 
candle,  and  that  as  regards  expense  no  more  shall  be  incurred 
than  will  pay  for  a  sack  to  stuff  my  remains  into,  and  a  porter 
to  carry  it. 

"  I  give  twelve  gold  crowns  to  the  parish,  because  I  cannot 
carry  them  away." 


CHAPTER  III 

WILLS   IN   FICTION   AND   POETRY 

"This  brief  abridgment  of  my  will  I  make. 
My  soul  and  body  to  the  skies  and  ground. " 

On  Will-making 

An  excellent  treatise  on  the  foibles  of  testators  and  the  motives 
which  prompt  devises,  legacies  and  bequests,  is  to  be  found  in  the 
work  of  William  Hazlitt,  "Table  Talk  or  Original  Essays,"  under 
the  title,  "On  Will-making,"  a  portion  of  which  is  here  subjoined. 
The  fame  of  the  author  and  the  merit  of  the  essay  justify  its  intro- 
duction. 

"Few  things  show  the  human  character  in  a  more  ridiculous 
light  than  the  circumstance  of  will-making.  It  is  the  latest  oppor- 
tunity we  have  of  exercising  the  natural  perversity  of  the  disposi- 
tion, and  we  take  care  to  make  a  good  use  of  it.  We  husband  it 
with  jealousy,  put  it  off  as  long  as  we  can,  and  then  use  every 
precaution  that  the  world  shall  be  no  gainer  by  our  deaths.  This 
last  act  of  our  lives  seldom  belies  the  former  tenor  of  them,  for 
stupidity,  caprice,  and  unmeaning  spite.  All  that  we  seem  to 
think  of  is  to  manage  matters  so  (in  settling  accounts  with  those 
who  are  so  unmannerly  as  to  survive  us)  as  to  do  as  little  good  and 
to  plague  and  disappoint  as  many  people  as  possible." 


"The  art  of  will-making  chiefly  consists  in  baffling  the  impor- 
tunity of  expectation.  I  do  not  so  much  find  fault  with  this  when 
it  is  done  as  a  punishment  and  oblique  satire  on  servility  and  sel- 
fishness. It  is  in  that  case  Diamond  cut  Diamond  —  a  trial  of  skill 
between  the  legacy-hunter  and  the  legacy-maker,  which  shall 
fool  the  other.  The  cringing  toad-eater,  the  officious  tale-bearer, 
is  perhaps  well  paid  for  years  of  obsequious  attendance  with  a  bare 
mention  and  a  mourning-ring;  nor  can  I  think  that  Gil  Bias' 
hbrary  was  not  quite  as  much  as  the  coxcombry  of  his  pretensions 
deserved.     There   are   some   admirable   scenes   in   Ben   Jonson's 

49 


50        ANCIENT,   CURIOUS,  AND  FAMOUS  WILLS 

*  Volpone,'  shewing  the  humours  of  a  legacy -hunter,  and  the  dif- 
ferent ways  of  fobbing  him  off  with  excuses  and  assurances  of  not 
being  forgotten.  Yet  it  is  hardly  right  after  all,  to  encourage  this 
kind  of  pitiful,  bare-faced  intercourse,  without  meaning  to  pay  for 
it;  as  the  coquette  has  no  right  to  jilt  the  lovers  she  has  trifled 
with.  Flattery  and  submission  are  marketable  commodities  like 
any  other,  have  their  price,  and  ought  scarcely  to  be  obtained  under 
false  pretences.  If  we  see  through  and  despise  the  wretched  crea- 
ture that  attempts  to  impose  on  our  credulity,  we  can  at  any  time 
dispense  with  his  services ;  if  we  are  soothed  by  this  mockery  of 
respect  and  friendship,  why  not  pay  him  like  any  other  drudge, 
or  as  we  satisfy  the  actor  who  performs  a  part  in  a  play  by  our 
particular  desire  ?  But  often  these  premeditated  disappointments 
are  as  unjust  as  they  are  cruel,  and  are  marked  with  circumstances 
of  indignity,  in  proportion  to  the  worth  of  the  object.  The  sus- 
pecting, the  taking  it  for  granted  that  your  name  is  down  in  the 
will,  is  sufficient  provocation  to  have  it  struck  out ;  the  hinting  at 
an  obligation,  the  consciousness  of  it  on  the  part  of  the  testator, 
will  make  him  determined  to  avoid  the  formal  acknowledgment 
of  it,  at  any  expense.  The  disinheriting  of  relations  is  mostly  for 
venial  offences,  not  for  base  actions :  we  punish  out  of  pique, 
to  revenge  some  case  in  which  we  have  been  disappointed  of  our 
wills,  some  act  of  disobedience  to  what  had  no  reasonable  ground 
to  go  upon ;  and  we  are  obstinate  in  adhering  to  our  resolution, 
as  it  was  sudden  and  rash,  and  doubly  bent  on  asserting  our  au- 
thority in  what  we  have  least  right  to  interfere  in.  It  is  the  wound 
infhcted  upon  our  self-love,  not  the  stain  upon  the  character  of 
the  thoughtless  offender,  that  calls  for  condign  punishment. 
Crimes,  vices  may  go  unchecked,  or  unnoticed  :  but  it  is  the  laugh- 
ing at  our  weaknesses,  or  thwarting  our  humours,  that  is  never  to 
be  forgotten.  It  is  not  the  errors  of  others,  but  our  own  miscalcu- 
lations, on  which  we  wreak  our  lasting  vengeance.  It  is  ourselves 
that  we  cannot  forgive." 


"An  old  man  is  twice  a  child  :  the  dying  man  becomes  the  prop- 
erty of  his  family.  He  has  no  choice  left,  and  his  voluntary  power 
is  merged  in  old  saws  and  prescriptive  usages.  The  property  we 
have  derived  from  our  kindred  reverts  tacitly  to  them :  and  not 
to  let  it  take  its  course,  is  a  sort  of  violence  done  to  nature  as  well 
as  custom.     The  idea  of  property,  of  something  in  common,  does 


ANCIENT,   CURIOUS,   AND  FAMOUS  WILLS        51 

not  mix  cordially  with  friendship,  but  is  inseparable  from  near 
relationship.  We  owe  a  return  in  kind,  where  we  feel  no  obligation 
for  a  favour ;  and  consign  our  possessions  to  our  next  of  kin  as 
mechanically  as  we  lean  our  heads  on  the  pillow,  and  go  out  of  the 
world  in  the  same  state  of  stupid  amazement  that  we  came  into 
it !   ...     Cetera  desunt." 

Human  nature  is  ever  the  same:  WilHam  Hazlitt  wrote  the 
above  hnes  one  hundred  years  ago,  and  yet  as  we  read  them,  there 
appears  an  emphasized  truth  in  the  sentiment  contained  in  a  verse 
from  "Mortahty,"  a  composition  by  William  Knox,  which  was  the 
favorite  poem  of  Abraham  Lincoln  : 

"  For  we  are  the  same  our  fathers  have  been. 
We  see  the  same  sights  that  our  fathers  have  seen ; 
We  drink  the  same  stream,  and  view  the  same  sun. 
And  run  the  same  course  our  fathers  have  run." 

It  is  said  of  Hazlitt  that  his  domestic  life  was  infelicitous ;  that 
he  had  a  temperament  which  was  erratic  and  self-tormenting 
and  estranged  him  from  his  friends,  even  for  a  time  from  Charles 
Lamb.  He  died  on  September  18,  1830,  with  Lamb  at  his  bed- 
side, and  though  disappointed  and  harassed  by  anxiety  and  suffer- 
ing as  he  had  been,  yet  his  last  words  were :  "  I've  had  a  happy 
Hfe."     How  many  of  us  would  have  said  as  much  ! 

Wills  of  the  Novelist 

The  Green  Bag  says  : 

"Where  would  the  novelist  of  the  period  be  without  the  dis- 
inheriting will,  the  manipulated  will,  the  secreted  will,  and  all 
kinds  of  wills  in  every  style  of  obliteration  and  in  every  stage  of 
destruction  ?  Why,  he  would  be  nearly  as  bereft  of  staple  stock 
in  trade  as  if  he  had  lost  the  lovelorn  maiden,  the  tender-hearted 
soldier,  or  the  grand  old  hall  of  our  ancestors.  Even  writers  of  a 
higher  grade  find  it  convenient  to  make  use  of  such  machinery  to 
help  make  the  story  go." 

Old  Noirtier's  Will 

Romancers  and  writers  of  fiction  have  taken  much  interest  in, 
and  considerable  liberty  with,  wills ;  for  instance,  old  Noirtier,  a 
character  in  the  "Count  of  Monte  Cristo,"  the  great  novel  by 
Dumas,  wrote  his  will.  He  was  paralyzed,  and  his  only  means  of 
communication  was  by  the  eye :   to  shut  the  eye,  meant  "yes  " : 


52        ANCIENT,   CURIOUS,  AND  FAMOUS  WILLS 

to  wink  the  eye,  meant  "no."  His  granddaughter  had  no  trouble 
when  the  notaries  appeared  in  convincing  them  that  her  grand- 
parent knew  exactly  what  he  was  doing ;  so,  in  spite  of  opposition 
and  in  the  presence  of  seven  witnesses,  the  will  was  executed  ;  and  as 
no  signature  was  required  under  the  French  law,  the  act  was  legally 
accomplished. 

Dr.  Jekyll's  Will 

Then  there  was  the  famous  will  in  "Dr.  Jekyll  and  Mr.  Hyde"  : 
the  very  worthy  lawyer,  Mr.  Utterson,  who  was  "lean,  long, 
dusty,  dreary  and,  somehow,  lovable,"  refused  to  write  this  will, 
wherein  Dr.  Jekyll  left  his  possessions  to  his  friend  and  benefactor, 
Edward  Hyde.  Mr.  Hyde  was  also  to  be  the  possessor  of  this 
property  if  Dr.  Jekyll  should  disappear  for  a  period  exceeding  three 
calendar  months,  the  same  to  be  free  from  burden  or  obligation, 
beyond  the  payment  of  a  few  small  sums  to  members  of  the  Doc- 
tor's household. 

The  Will  of  Lord  Monmouth 

In  "Coningsby,"  by  Disraeli,  the  reading  of  Lord  Monmouth's 
will  is  a  feature.  The  document  is  lengthy,  and  numerous  codicils 
have  been  added  from  time  to  time,  involving  many  modifications. 
The  last  codicil  of  all,  however,  was  the  most  startling,  for  under  it 
all  former  dispositions  were  upset. 

Mr.  Casaubon's  Will 

In  George  Eliot's  "Middlemarch,"  we  find  the  will  of  Mr. 
Casaubon.  This  gentleman  had  married  a  girl,  Dorothea  Brooke, 
who  was  very  much  younger  than  himself.  By  his  will,  he  very 
properly  gave  her  all  his  property.  However,  on  reflection,  and 
for  reasons  best  known  to  himself,  he  added  a  codicil  and  placed  the 
legacy  given  to  his  wife,  upon  the  condition  that  she  did  not  marry 
one  Ladislaw. 

It  would  further  appear  that  until  the  reading  of  this  codicil,  it 
had  not  occurred  to  Dorothea  that  Ladislaw  might  be  a  possible 
lover;  but  he  became  one,  and  the  very  suggestion  of  the  testator 
caused  the  defeat  of  the  latter's  wishes, 

Anthony  Trollope's  "  Orley  Farm  " 

Our  author  tells  us  of  a  forgery  of  a  codicil  by  the  second  wife 
of  the  testator :  a  son  by  a  first  wife  is  cut  off,  and  the  farm  is  left 
to  a  son  by  the  second  wife.     This  codicil  is  in  the  handwriting  of 


ANCIENT,   CURIOUS,  AND  FAMOUS  WILLS        53 

the  widow,  witnessed  by  an  attorney  whose  daughter  received  a 
handsome  legacy,  the  other  witnesses  being  a  clerk  and  a  maid- 
servant. The  widow  swears  that  the  codicil  was  drawn  at  the 
attorney's  dictation,  in  the  husband's  hearing,  and  that  she  was 
present  when  it  was  signed  by  all  the  parties.  The  witnesses  gave 
evidence  as  to  the  due  execution  of  the  codicil.  The  instrument 
was  admitted  to  probate.  It  developed,  however,  that  there  was 
another  paper,  a  dissolution  of  partnership,  signed  on  the  same 
day  by  the  same  witnesses.  The  result  was,  that  the  charming 
widow  was  found  guilty  of  perjury. 

Mr.  Meeson's  Will 

The  following  description  of  this  famous  will  is  taken  from  the 
Green  Bag: 

"In  'Mr.  Meeson's  Will,'  Rider  Haggard  tells  of  a  fiendish  pub- 
lisher and  a  lone  island  and  a  tattooed  will.  It  is  the  particular 
dehght  of  this  issuer  of  books,  though  he  largely  sends  forth  works 
of  a  religious  cast,  to  crush  all  the  originality  out  of  his  authors 
and  turn  them  into  literary  hacks,  so  that  they  may  become  dreary 
drudges  in  his  vast  establishment,  sinking  even  their  names  in 
numbers,  and  losing  every  atom  of  individuality  and  every  symp- 
tom of  spirit.  He  makes  a  shamelessly  cruel  contract  with  the 
heroine,  who  writes  novels ;  and  the  hero,  his  nephew,  protests  and 
is  driven  out  of  the  concern.  But  he  is  driven  into^love  with  the 
reciprocating  maker  of  manuscript.  Then  the  heroine  embarks 
for  distant  lands ;  and  it  happens,  to  the  great  good  fortune  of  the 
inventor  of  the  story,  that  the  publisher  sails  on  board  the  same 
vessel.  The  vessel  is  wrecked  and  these  two  are  cast  on  a  desert 
island,  where  they  manage  to  get  along  after  the  style  of  'Robin- 
son Crusoe'  with  variations.  But  the  publisher,  upset  in  body 
and  mind  by  these  experiences,  dies,  pursued  by  ghastly  visions 
of  the  suffering  authors  he  has  driven  to  desperation. 

"Yet  these  very  visions  make  him  see  the  error  of  his  ways, 
and  prompt  him  to  do  justice.  It  is  plain  to  him  that  he  must 
set  all  things  right  by  making  a  will  in  favor  of  the  nephew  whom 
he  had  disinherited.  But  how  to  carry  out  the  plan  on  this  spot 
is  the  question.  At  last  a  happy  thought  strikes  the  lady.  The 
will  shall  be  tattoed  across  her  shoulders,  and  this  is  done,  though 
she  endures  no  end  of  agony,  and  faints  away  when  the  job  is  over. 

"Of  course  she  is  rescued  by  a  passing  vessel,  rejoins  her  lover, 
and  seeks  to  establish  his  rights.     For  this  purpose  the  will  must  be 


54        ANCIENT,   CURIOUS,  AND,  FAMOUS  WILLS 

probated,  and  the  law  requires  the  original  will  to  be  filed  in  the 
office.  But  the  Registrar,  touched  by  '  Beauty  in  distress,'  allows 
a  photograph  of  the  will  to  be  filed.  The  will  is  contested  by  the 
other  heirs,  but  after  an  exciting  trial,  described  at  length  in  the 
story,  victory  perches  on  the  shoulders  of  the  lady. 

"This  is  the  real  climax  of  the  story,  but  we  are  carried  on 
through  the  ringing  of  the  marriage  bells,  to  learn  that  they  lived 
happy  ever  after." 

His  Request  Disregarded 

Horace  Walpole  writes  that  a  certain  testator  who  was  appre- 
hensive that  his  will  would  not  be  upheld,  prefaced  that  document 
with  these  words : 

"In  the  name  of  God,  Amen  !  I  am  of  sound  mind.  This  is 
my  last  will  and  testament,  and  I  desire  the  courts  not  to  trouble 
themselves  to  make  another  for  me." 

His  request  seems  not  to  have  been  taken  in  his  favor,  for  the 
courts  did  make  another  will  for  him. 

In  ancient  Greece,  it  was  quite  usual  to  introduce  into  wills 
the  most  formidable  imprecations  on  those  who  should  attempt 
to  violate  the  wishes  of  the  testator;  in  modern  times  pecuniary 
penalties,  instead  of  curses,  are  more  in  favor  with  distrustful  will- 
makers. 

Jerome  on  Wills 

Mr.  Jerome  K.  Jerome,  after  months  of  study,  inspired  by  a 
determination  to  get  to  the  bottom  of  Stage  law,  mentions  among 
the  few  points  on  which  he  is  at  all  clear,  the  following : 

That  if  a  man  dies  without  leaving  a  will,  then  all  his  property 
goes  to  the  nearest  villain. 

But  that  if  a  man  dies  and  leaves  a  will,  then  all  his  property 
goes  to  whoever  can  get  possession  of  that  will. 

Must  not  Remarry 

"Iris,"  in  one  of  Pinero's  plays  of  the  same  name,  is  a  beautiful 
young  widow  of  twenty-one.  She  finds  herself  much  hampered  by 
the  terms  of  her  husband's  will,  which  deprives  her  of  its  benefits 
if  she  remarries.  Such  a  provision  is  in  law  perfectly  legal  and  its 
use  much  indulged  in  by  dying  husbands,  but  whether  wisely  or 
justly  is  a  matter  of  serious  doubt. 


ANCIENT,   CURIOUS,   AND  FAMOUS  WILLS        55 

"The  Thunderbolt" 

Pinero's  latest  play,  "The  Thunderbolt,"  is  a  study  of  the 
manners  and  respectability  of  the  middle-class  of  England.  The 
play  was  not  received  with  favor  in  London,  but  has  been  granted 
a  hearing  by  the  "New  Theatre"  of  New  York,  and  by  competent 
judges  is  said  to  be  the  masterpiece  of  its  author. 

The  play  is  based  on  a  stolen  will :  the  first  act  shows  a  family 
gathered  around  the  bier  of  Edward  Mortimore,  who  had  accumu- 
lated wealth  in  the  brewing  of  beer,  which,  during  his  life,  was  re- 
garded by  his  family  as  rather  a  disreputable  business.  There  is 
absent  from  the  gathering,  only  one  interested  person,  and  that 
is  an  illegitimate  daughter,  Helen  Thornhill,  who  is  an  art  student 
in  Paris.  Helen  arrives  and  is  much  surprised  that  her  father  has 
not  remembered  her,  for  the  announcement  is  made  that  he  left 
no  will ;  and  she  wishes  that  "every  ill  that's  conceivable"  should 
come  upon  the  heads  of  those  who  will  inherit.  It  quickly  de- 
velops, however,  that  the  father  did  leave  a  will,  in  these  words : 

"I  leave  everything  I  die  possessed  of  to  Helen  Thornhill,  spin- 
ster, absolutely,  and  she  is  to  be  my  sole  executrix." 

A  confession  discloses  the  fact  that  the  will  has  been  destroyed  by 
Phyllis,  wife  of  Thaddeus,  a  brother  of  the  testator.  Helen  refuses 
to  bring  disgrace  on  the  family  by  a  prosecution,  and  a  compromise 
is  effected,  by  which  she  receives  a  substantial  portion  of  the 
estate. 

Dickens  a  Will-maker 

Dickens  was  a  great  will-maker.  We  know  that  if  Dick  Swiveller 
had  been  a  steadier  youth  he  would  have  inherited  more  than  one 
hundred  and  fifty  pounds  a  year  from  his  Aunt  Rebecca.  The 
loyal-hearted  lover,  Mr.  Barkis,  made  Peggotty  his  residuary  lega- 
tee. The  litigation  in  Jarndyce  v.  Jarndyce  arose  out  of  a  disputed 
will.  The  various  wills  left  by  old  Harmon  in  "Our  Mutual 
Friend"  bring  about  no  end  of  complications,  there  being  at  least 
three  wills  in  existence  at  one  time,  and  each  one  believed  by  the 
person  discovering  it  to  be  the  final  will. 

Mr.  George  W.  E.  Russell  says  that  perhaps  Dickens's  best  piece 
of  will-making  is  given  in  the  case  of  Mr.  Spenlow,  who,  being  a 
practitioner  in  Doctors'  Commons,  spoke  about  his  own  will  with 
"a  serenity,  a  tranquillity,  a  calm  sunset  air"  which  quite  affected 
David  Copperfield ;  and  then  shattered  all  poor  David's  hopes  by 
dying  intestate. 


56        ANCIENT,   CURIOUS,  AND  FAMOUS  WILLS 

Perplexities  of  Poor  Cecilia 

All  the  perplexities  and  distresses  of  poor  Cecilia,  iu  Frances 
Burney's  "  Memoirs  of  an  Heiress,"  grew  out  of  a  clause  in  her 
uncle's  will,  imposing  the  condition  that  if  she  married,  her  hus- 
band should  take  her  family  name  of  Beverly.  Poor  Cecilia  ! 
What  doubts  and  difficulties  beset  her  by  reason  of  this  unfor- 
tunate provision;  and  too,  it  gives  the  authoress  an  excellent 
opportunity  to  harrow  up  the  reader  on  account  of  these  delicate 
uncertainties  and  distresses. 

Olivia's  Will 

It  was  suggested  to  Olivia  in  "Twelfth  Night,"  that  her  graces 
would  go  to  the  grave  and  no  copy  be  held ;   she  responds  : 

"O,  Sir,  I  will  not  be  so  hard  hearted;  I  will  give  out  divers 
schedules  of  my  beauty ;  It  shall  be  inventoried,  and  every  particle 
and  utensil  labelled  to  my  will ;  as,  item,  two  lips  indifferent  red ; 
item,  two  gray  eyes  with  lids  to  them ;  item,  one  neck,  one  chin, 
and  so  forth." 

Portia  and  Nerissa 

In  the  "Merchant  of  Venice  "  Portia  is  much  concerned  over 
the  will  of  her  father  with  reference  to  the  caskets : 

"Portia.  But  this  reasoning  is  not  in  the  fashion  to  choose  me 
a  husband.  —  O  me  !  the  word  choose  !  I  may  neither  choose 
whom  I  would,  nor  refuse  whom  I  dislike ;  so  is  the  will  of  a  living 
daughter  curbed  by  the  will  of  a  dead  father.  —  Is  it  not  hard, 
Nerissa,  that  I  cannot  choose  one,  nor  refuse  none  ? 

"Nerissa.  Your  father  was  ever  virtuous,  and  holy  men  at 
their  death  have  good  inspirations ;  therefore,  the  lottery,  that  he 
hath  devised  in  these  three  chests  of  gold,  silver,  and  lead  (whereof 
who  chooses  his  meaning,  chooses  you)  will,  no  doubt,  never  be 
chosen  by  any  rightly,  but  one  whom  you  shall  rightly  love.  But 
what  warmth  is  there  in  your  affection  towards  any  of  these  princely 
suitors  that  are  already  come  ?" 

Will  of  Nicholas  Gimcrack 

The  will  of  Nicholas  Gimcrack,  Esq.,  is  a  curious  document,  and 
reflects  the  mind  of  the  worthy  virtuoso,  and  in  it  his  various  follies, 
littlenesses  and  quaint  humors  are  contained  in  an  orderly  and  dis- 
tinct fashion.  This  will  appears  in  the  Taller,  Vol.  IV,  No.  216,  and 
is  here  written,  minus  certain  parts  which  are  of  no  great  concern  : 


ANCIENT,   CURIOUS,  AND  FAMOUS  WILLS        57 

"the  will  of  a  virtuoso 

"I  Nicholas  Gimcrack,  being  in  sound  Health  of  Mind,  but  in 
great  Weakness  of  Body,  do  by  this  my  Last  Will  and  Testament 
bequeath  my  worldly  Goods  and  Chattels  in  Maimer  follows ; 

"  Imprimis,  To  my  dear  Wife, 
One  Box  of  Butterflies, 
One  Drawer  of  Shells, 
A  Female  Skeleton, 
A  dried  Cockatrice. 

"  Item,  To  my  Daughter  EHzabeth, 

My  Receipt  for  preserving  dead  Caterpillars, 
As  also  my  preparations  of  Winter  May-Dew,  and  Embrio 
Pickle. 

"  Item,  To  my  little  Daughter  Fanny, 
Three  Crocodiles'  Eggs. 
And  upon  the  Birth  of  her  first  Child,  if  she  marries  with  her 

Mother's  Consent, 
The  Nest  of  a  Humming-Bird. 

"  Item,  To  my  eldest  Brother,  as  an  Acknowledgment  for  the 
Lands  he  has  vested  in  my  Son  Charles,  I  bequeath 
My  last  Year's  Collection  of  Grasshoppers. 

"  Item,  To  his  Daughter,  Susanna,  being  his  only  Child,  I  be- 
queath my  English  Weeds  pasted  on  Royal  Paper, 
With  my  large  Foho  of  Indian  Cabbage. 
******* 

"Having  fully  provided  for  my  Nephew  Isaac,  by  making  over 
to  him  some  years  since 

A  Horned  Scarabaeus, 

The  Skin  of  a  Rattle-Snake,  and 

The  Mummy  of  an  Egyptian  King, 
I  make  no  further  Provision  for  him  in  this  my  Will. 

"  My  eldest  son  John  having  spoken  disrespectfully  of  his  little 
sister,  whom  I  keep  by  me  in  Spirits  of  Wine,  and  in  many  other 
instances  behaved  himself  undutifully  towards  me,  I  do  disinherit, 
and  wholly  cut  off  from  any  Part  of  this  my  Personal  Estate,  by 
giving  him  a  single  Cockle-Shell. 

"  To  my  Second  Son  Charles,  I  give  and  bequeath  all  my  Flowers, 
Plants,  Minerals,  Mosses,  Shells,  Pebbles,  Fossils,  Beetles,  Butter- 


58        ANCIENT,   CURIOUS,  AND  FAMOUS  WILLS 

flies,  Caterpillars,  Grasshoppers,  and  Vermin,  not  above  specified : 
As  also  all  my  Monsters,  both  wet  and  dry,  making  the  said  Charles 
whole  and  sole  Executor  of  this  my  Last  Will  and  Testament,  he 
paying  or  causing  to  be  paid  the  aforesaid  Legacies  within  the  space 
of  Six  Months  after  my  Decease.  And  I  do  hereby  revoke  all 
other  Wills  whatsoever  by  me  formerly  made." 

Eustace  Budgell 
Pope  was  an  excellent  satirist ;  he  writes  : 

"  Let  Budgell  charge  lone  Grub  Street  on  my  quill, 
And  write  whate'er  he  please,  —  except  my  will." 

Eustace  Budgell  was  born  at  St.  Thomas  near  Exeter,  England, 
in  1685,  and  died  in  1737.  He  was  an  essayist  and  miscellaneous 
writer,  and  a  friend  and  kinsman  of  Joseph  Addison,  who  was 
for  a  time  Secretary  of  State  for  Ireland :  he  accompanied  Addison 
to  Ireland  as  Clerk,  and  later  became  under  Secretary  of  State : 
he  was,  however,  forced  to  resign  his  post,  and  returned  to  England. 

Budgell  is  said  to  have  lost  a  fortune  in  the  notorious  scheme 
known  to  history  as  the  "  South  Sea  Bubble."  He  published  the 
BeCy  a  periodical  which  brought  him  into  considerable  notoriety. 
He  studied  law  and  was  called  to  the  bar,  but  attained  little  suc- 
cess. By  the  will  of  Dr.  Matthew  Tindal,  who  died  in  1733, 
he  was  left  a  legacy  of  2000  Guineas :  it  was  claimed  that  Budgell 
himself  inserted  this  legacy  in  the  will,  which  was  successfully 
disputed  by  the  heirs  to  the  Tindal  Estate  :  his  prospects  and  future 
being  ruined,  he  fell  into  disgrace  and  debt,  and  determined  upon 
self-destruction.  Accordingly,  1737,  he  took  a  boat  at  Summer- 
set Stairs,  after  filling  his  pockets  with  stones,  and  drowned  himself 
in  the  Thames.  On  his  desk  was  found  a  slip  of  paper  on  which 
were  written  these  words  : 

"What  Cato  did  and  Addison  approved  cannot  be  wrong." 

Will  of  a  Child 

In  "Little  Women,"  by  Louisa  M.  Alcott,  we  find  Amy's  will, 
and  it  is  a  pretty  reflection  of  the  sweet  and  ingenuous  spirit  of  a 
child.  And  humanity  would  be  the  happier  for  it  if  we  could  take 
with  us  into  maturer  years,  the  open  hand  and  the  self-forgetful- 
ness  of  childhood. 

Amy  decided  to  follow  the  example  of  her  Aunt  March  in  will- 
making,  though  it  cost  her  many  a  pang  to  part  with  her  little 
treasures.     Here  is  the  paper  Laurie  was  asked  to  read : 


ANCIENT,   CURIOUS,   AND  FAMOUS  WILLS        59 

"my  last  will  and  testament 

"I,  Amy  Curtis  March,  being  in  my  sane  mind,  do  give  and 
bequeethe  all  my  earthly  property  —  viz.  to  wit :  —  namely 

"To  my  father,  my  best  pictures,  sketches,  maps,  and  works  of 
art,  including  frames.     Also  my  $100,  to  do  what  he  likes  with. 

"To  my  mother,  all  my  clothes,  except  the  blue  apron  with  pock- 
ets, —  also  my  likeness,  and  my  medal,  with  much  love. 

"To  my  dear  sister  Margaret,  I  give  my  turquoise  ring  (if  I  get 
it),  also  my  green  box  with  the  doves  on  it,  also  my  piece  of  real 
lace  for  her  neck,  and  my  sketch  of  her  as  a  memorial  of  her '  little  girl. ' 

"To  Jo  I  leave  my  breast-pin,  the  one  mended  with  sealing  wax, 
also  my  bronze  inkstand  —  she  lost  the  cover  —  and  my  most 
precious  plaster  rabbit,  because  I  am  sorry  I  burnt  up  her  story. 

"To  Beth  (if  she  lives  after  me)  I  give  my  dolls  and  the  little 
bureau,  my  fan,  my  linen  collars  and  my  new  slippers  if  she  can 
wear  them  being  thin  when  she  gets  well.  And  I  herewith  also 
leave  her  my  regret  that  I  ever  made  fun  of  old  Joanna. 

"To  my  friend  and  neighbor  Theodore  Laurence  I  bequeethe 
my  paper  marshay  portfolio,  my  clay  model  of  a  horse  though  he 
did  say  it  hadn't  any  neck.  Also  in  return  for  his  great  kindness 
in  the  hour  of  affliction  any  one  of  my  artistic  works  he  likes,  Noter 
Dame  is  the  best. 

"To  our  venerable  benefactor  Mr.  Laurence  I  leave  my  purple 
box  with  a  looking  glass  in  the  cover  which  will  be  nice  for  his  pens 
and  remind  him  of  the  departed  girl  who  thanks  him  for  his  favors 
to  her  family,  specially  Beth. 

"I  wish  my  favorite  playmate  Kitty  Bryant  to  have  the  blue 
silk  apron  and  my  gold-bead  ring  with  a  kiss. 

"To  Hannah  I  give  the  bandbox  she  wanted  and  all  the  patch- 
work I  leave  hoping  she  '  will  remember  me,  when  it  you  see.' 

"And  now  having  disposed  of  my  most  valuable  property  I 
hope  all  will  be  satisfied  and  not  blame  the  dead.  I  forgive  every 
one,  and  trust  we  may  all  meet  when  the  trump  shall  sound.    Amen. 

"  To  this  will  and  testament  I  set  my  hand  and  seal  on  this  20th 

day  of  Nov.  Anni  Domino  1861.  ,«  .        ^  t.  , 

•^  Amy  Curtis  March. 

«  rrr  •.  f  EsTELLE   VaLNOR, 

Witnesses:    \  ~,  t 

[  Theodore  Laurence. 

"Postscript :   I  wish  all  my  curls  cut  off,  and  given  round  to  my 

friends.     I  forgot  it ;   but  I  want  it  done,  though  it  will  spoil  my 

looks." 


60        ANCIENT,   CURIOUS,  AND  FAMOUS  WILLS 

The  Will  of  Don  Quixote 

"I  feel,  good  sirs,"  said  Don  Quixote,  "that  death  advances 
fast  upon  me.  Let  us  then  be  serious,  and  bring  me  a  confessor, 
and  a  notary  to  draw  up  my  will,  for  a  man  in  my  state  must  not 
trifle  with  his  soul.  Let  the  notary  be  sent  for,  I  beseech  you, 
while  my  friend  here,  the  priest,  is  taking  my  confession." 

The  priest,  having  listened  to  his  dying  friend's  confession, 
came  out  of  the  room  and  told  them  that  the  good  Alonzo  Quixano 
was  near  his  end,  and  certainly  in  his  right  senses;  he  therefore 
advised  them  to  go  in,  as  it  was  full  time  that  his  will  should  be 
made.  These  tidings  gave  a  terrible  stab  to  the  overcharged  hearts 
of  the  two  ladies  and  his  faithful  squire,  whose  eyes  overflowed 
with  w^eeping,  and  whose  bosoms  had  well-nigh  burst  with  a  thou- 
sand sighs  and  groans ;  for,  indeed,  it  must  be  owned,  as  we  have 
somewhere  observed,  that  whether  in  the  character  of  Alonzo 
Quixano  the  Good,  or  in  the  capacity  of  Don  Quixote  de  la  Mancha, 
the  poor  gentleman  had  always  exhibited  marks  of  a  peaceable 
temper  and  agreeable  demeanor,  for  which  he  was  beloved,  not 
only  by  his  own  family,  but  also  by  all  those  who  had  the  pleasure 
of  his  acquaintance. 

The  notary  entering  the  apartment  with  the  rest  of  the  company, 
wrote  the  preamble  of  the  will,  in  which  Don  Quixote  disposed  of 
his  soul  in  all  the  necessary  Christian  forms;  then  proceeding  to 
the  legacies,  he  said : 

"Item:  Whereas,  Sancho  Panza,  whom,  in  my  madness,  I 
made  my  squire,  has  in  his  hands  a  certain  sum  of  money  for 
my  use;  and,  as  divers  accounts,  disbursements,  and  pecuniary 
transactions  have  passed  between  us,  it  is  my  will  that  he  shall  not 
be  charged  or  brought  to  account  for  the  said  money ;  but,  if  there 
be  any  overplus  after  he  has  deducted  the  payment  of  what  I  owe 
him,  the  said  overplus,  which  must  be  a  mere  trifle,  shall  be  his 
own,  and  much  good  may  it  do  him ;  and  as,  during  my  disorder, 
I  contributed  to  his  being  made  governor  of  an  island,  I  would  now, 
while  I  enjoy  my  perfect  senses,  confer  upon  him,  were  it  in  my 
power,  a  whole  kingdom,  which  he  richly  deserves  for  the  inno- 
cency  of  his  heart  and  the  fidelity  of  his  service." 

Then  turning  to  the  disconsolate  squire,  "Forgive  me,  friend," 
said  he,  "for  having  been  the  cause  of  thy  appearing  in  the  eye  of 
the  world  a  madman  like  myself,  by  drawing  thee  into  my  erroneous 
notions  concerning  the  existence  and  adventures  of  knights-errant." 


ANCIENT.  CURIOUS,  AND  FAMOUS  WILLS        61 

"Gentlemen,"  said  Don  Quixote,  "let  us  proceed  fair  and  softly. 
I  was  mad,  I  am  now  sane;  I  was  Don  Quixote  de  la  Mancha; 
I  am  now,  as  formerly  styled,  Alonzo  Quixano  the  Good.  And 
may  my  repentance  and  sincerity  restore  me  to  the  esteem  you 
once  had  for  me.     Now  let  the  notary  proceed. 

"Item  :  I  bequeath  to  Antonia  Quixano,  my  niece,  here  present, 
all  my  estate,  real  and  personal,  after  the  payment  of  all  my  debts 
and  legacies ;  and  the  first  to  be  discharged  shall  be  the  wages  due 
to  my  housekeeper  for  the  time  she  has  been  in  my  service,  and 
twenty  ducats  besides  for  a  suit  of  mourning. 

"I  appoint  for  my  executors  signor  the  priest  and  signor  bachelor 
Sampson  Carrasco,  here  present. 

"Item:  It  is  also  my  will  that,  if  Antonia  Quixano,  my  niece, 
should  be  inchned  to  marry,  it  shall  be  only  with  a  man  who,  upon 
the  strictest  inquiry,  shall  be  found  to  know  nothing  of  books  of 
chivalry;  and,  in  case  it  appear  that  he  is  acquainted  with  such 
books,  and  that  my  niece,  notwithstanding,  will  and  doth  marry 
him,  then  shall  she  forfeit  all  I  have  bequeathed  her,  which  my 
executors  may  dispose  of  in  pious  uses  as  they  think  proper. 

"And,  finally,  I  beseech  the  said  gentlemen,  my  executors,  that 
if  haply  they  should  come  to  the  knowledge  of  the  author  of  a 
certain  history  dispersed  abroad,  entitled,  'The  Second  Part  of 
the  Achievements  of  Don  Quixote  de  la  Mancha,'  that  they  will, 
in  my  name,  most  earnestly  entreat  him  to  forgive  me  for  having 
been  the  innocent  cause  of  his  writing  such  a  number  of  absurdities 
as  that  performance  contains ;  for  I  quit  this  life  with  some  scruples 
of  conscience  arising  from  that  consideration." 

The  will  being  thus  concluded,  he  was  seized  with  a  fainting-fit, 
and  stretched  himself  at  full  length  in  the  bed,  so  that  all  the  com- 
pany were  alarmed  and  ran  to  his  assistance.  During  three  days 
which  he  lived  after  the  will  was  signed  and  sealed,  he  frequently 
fainted,  and  the  whole  family  was  in  confusion.  Nevertheless, 
the  niece  ate  her  victuals,  the  housekeeper  drank  to  the  repose  of 
his  soul,  and  even  Sancho  cherished  his  little  carcass ;  for  the  pros- 
pect of  succession  either  dispels  or  moderates  that  affliction  which 
an  heir  ought  to  feel  at  the  death  of  the  testator. 

At  last  Don  Quixote  expired,  after  having  received  all  the  sacra- 
ments, and  in  the  strongest  terms,  pathetically  enforced,  expressed 
his  abomination  against  all  books  of  chivalry;  and  the  notary 
observed,  that  in  all  the  books  of  that  kind  which  he  had  perused, 
he  had  never  read  of  any  knight-errant  who  died  quietly  in  his 


62        ANCIENT,   CURIOUS,  AND  FAMOUS  WILLS 

bed  as  a  good  Christian,  like  Don  Quixote ;  who,  amidst  the  tears 
and  lamentations  of  all  present,  gave  up  the  ghost,  or,  in  other 
words,  departed  this  hfe.  The  curate  was  no  sooner  certified  of  his 
decease,  than  he  desired  the  notary  to  make  out  a  testimonial, 
declaring  that  Alonzo  Quixano  the  Good,  commonly  called  Don 
Quixote  de  la  Mancha,  had  taken  his  departure  from  this  life,  and 
died  of  a  natural  death ;  that  no  other  author,  different  from  Cid 
Hamet  Benengeli,  should  falsely  pretend  to  raise  him  from  the 
dead,  and  write  endless  histories  of  his  achievements. 

This  was  the  end  of  that  extraordinary  gentleman  of  La  Mancha, 
whose  birthplace  Cid  Hamet  was  careful  to  conceal,  that  all  the 
towns  and  villages  of  that  province  might  contend  for  the  honor  of 
having  produced  him,  as  did  the  seven  cities  of  Greece  for  the  glory 
of  giving  birth  to  Homer.  The  lamentations  of  Sancho,  the  niece 
and  the  housekeeper,  are  not  here  given,  nor  the  new  epitaphs  on 
the  tomb  of  the  deceased  knight,  except  the  following  one,  com- 
posed by  Sampson  Carrasco : 

"  A  doughty  gentleman  lies  here, 
A  stranger  all  his  life  to  fear ; 
Nor  in  his  death  could  Death  prevail. 
In  that  last  hour,  to  make  him  quail. 

"  He  for  the  world  but  little  cared ; 
And  at  his  feats  the  world  was  scared ; 
A  crazy  man  his  life  he  passed. 
But  in  his  senses  died  at  last." 


WILLS  IN  POETRY  OR  RHYME 

The  disposition  of  one's  worldly  possessions  by  a  testamentary 
document  in  poetry  or  rhyme,  appears  incongruous,  yet  there  are 
numerous  documents  of  this  nature  :  a  brief,  but  striking  example  of 
such,  by  an  attorney  named  Smithers  who  resided  in  London,  follows : 
"As  to  all  my  wordly  goods,  now  or  to  be  in  store, 
I  give  them  to  my  beloved  wife,  and  hers  forevermore. 
I  give  all  freely ;  I  no  limit  fix ; 
This  is  my  will,  and  she's  executrix." 

Will  of  Mother  Hubbard's  Dog 

"This  wonderful  dog 

Was  Dame  Hubbard's  delight ; 

He  could  dance,  he  could  sing, 

He  could  read,  he  could  write. 


ANCIENT,  CURIOUS,  AND  FAMOUS  WILLS        63 

"She  went  to  the  druggist 
To  get  him  a  pill ; 
And  when  she  came  back, 
He  was  writing  his  will. 

"So  she  gave  him  rich  dainties 
Whenever  he  fed ; 
And  put  up  a  monument 
When  he  was  dead." 

On  Tremont  Street,  in  the  busy  heart  of  Boston,  is  the  beautiful 
little  "burying  ground,"  called  the  "Granary"  ;  Paul  Revere,  John 
Quincy  Adams,  John  Hancock,  and  other  distinguished  citizens 
of  New  England  rest  here  under  trees  which  have  shaded  their 
graves  for  more  than  a  century.  There  is  also  shown  the  visitor 
the  grave  of  "Mother  Goose,"  the  alleged  author  of  the  Mother 
Goose  Rhymes.  It  may  be  iconoclastic  to  shatter  a  legend,  but  the 
truth  is,  the  Mother  Goose  Rhymes  had  been  jinghng  for  a  century 
and  more  before  this  good  lady  was  born;  it  appears  that  in 
ancient  times,  the  goose  was  a  famous  story-teller  for  children, 
and  the  Goose  Melodies  are  an  adaptation  from  the  French.  The 
monument  in  the  "Granary"  is  erected  to  Mary  Goose,  wife  of 
Isaac  Goose ;  it  would  seem  that  her  claim  to  fame  rests  entirely 
upon  her  recitation  of  the  Hubbard  Melodies  to  such  an  extent 
that  her  son-in-law,  Thomas  Fleet,  who  was  a  printer,  issued  a 
special  edition  for  her. 

Piers  Plowman 

Piers  Plowman,  in  the  fourteenth  century,  thus  made  his  will : 

"And  I  wish  ere  I  wend,  now  to  write  out  my  will. 
In  God's  name,  amen  !  lo  !  I  make  it  myself. 
May  God  have  my  soul  who  hath  saved  and  deserved  it, 
Let  the  kirk  have  my  carrion  and  keep  well  my  bones." 

Will  of  Paul  Scarron 

The  will;  of  Paul  Scarron,  which  he  chose  to  write  in  verse, 
is  not  a  particularly  attractive  production.  It  consists  of  about 
two  hundred  Unes ;  the  following  may  be  taken  as  a  specimen : 

"  Premierement  je  donne  et  je  legue 
A  ma  femme,  qui  n'est  point  begue, 
Pouvoir  de  se  remarier. 


64        ANCIENT,   CURIOUS,  AND  FAMOUS  WILLS 

De  crainte  d'un  plus  grand  desordre. 
Mais  pour  moi  je  crois  que  cet  ordre, 

De  ma  derniere  volonte 

Sera  celui  le  mieux  execute." 

As  is  well  known,  Scarron  was  a  French  author  and  playwright. 
In  1652  he  married  the  beautiful  Francine  d'Aubigne,  afterward 
Madame  de  Maintenon.     He  died  on  October  6,  1660. 

Francois  Villon 

Frangois  Villon  is  an  unique  character  in  history,  romance  and 
poetry.  He  died  about  1484.  "The  Poems  of  Master  Frangois 
Villon  of  Paris  done  into  English  Verse  by  John  Payne,"  contain 
his  two  chief  compositions  entitled,  "The  Lesser  Testament," 
and  "The  Greater  Testament":  they  are  satires  of  considerable 
merit  and  length,  and  a  verse  from  the  first  and  two  from  the  last 
will  suffice  to  show  their  character  and  his  style. 
From  the  first : 

"Item,  my  gloves  and  silken  hood 

My  friend  Jacques  Cardon,  I  declare, 
Shall  have  in  fair  free  gift  for  good ; 
Also  the  acorns  willows  bear 
And  every  day  a  capon  fair 
Or  goose ;  likewise  a  tenfold  vat 

Of  chalk-white  wine,  besides  a  pair 
Of  lawsuits,  lest  he  wax  too  fat." 

From  the  last : 

"The  Register  of  Wills  from  me 

Shall  have  no  quid  nor  quod,  I  trow : 
But  every  penny  of  his  fee 

To  Tricot,  the  young  priest,  shall  go ; 
To  whose  expense  gladly  eno' 
I'd  drink,  though  it  my  nightcap  cost : 

If  but  he  knew  the  dice  to  throw, 
Of  Perette's  Den  I'd  make  him  host." 


"Here  lies  and  slumbers  in  this  place 

One  whom  Love  wreaked  his  ire  upon : 
A  scholar,  poor  of  goods  and  grace. 
That  hight  of  old  Frangois  Villon : 


ANCIENT,   CURIOUS,  AND  FAMOUS  WILLS        65 

Acre  or  furrow  had  he  none. 
'Tis  known  his  all  he  gave  away ; 

Bread,  tables,  tressels,  all  are  gone. 
Gallants,  of  him  this  Roundel  say." 

Will  of  Sir  Thomas  Denny 

Thomas  Denny  (son  and  heir  of  Sir  Edmond  Denny  of  England, 
one  of  the  King's  Exchequer),  10th  May,  1527,  wrote  his  will  in 
manner  following : 

"...  My  body  to  be  buried  in  the  parish  church  of  Cheshunt, 
where  I  dwell,  and  I  will  that  a  stone  be  laid  on  me,  and  that  a 
picture  of  Death  be  made  in  the  stone,  with  scrolls  in  his  hand 
bearing  this  writing  thereon  : 

"  As  I  am  so  shalle  ye  be. 
Pray  for  me  of  yr  Charity, 
With  a  Paternoster  and  an  Ave, 
For  the  rest  of  the  soul  of  Thomas  Denny." 

Then  follow  sundry  bequests  and  legacies. 

In  Latin  Verse 

There  is  on  record  the  following  history  of  a  versified  will.  It  is 
that  of  Frangois  Joseph  Terrasse  Desbillons,  born  at  Chateauneuf, 
in  Berry,  in  1711,  who  became  a  Jesuit,  and,  after  the  suppression 
of  the  order  in  France,  principal  of  the  College  of  Mannheim.  He 
was  so  remarkable  for  the  elegance  and  purity  with  which  he  wrote 
in  Latin  that  he  obtained  the  sobriquet  of  "The  last  of  the  Romans." 
Owing,  perhaps,  to  this  facility,  he  wrote  his  will  in  Latin  verse. 
The  sight  of  it  in  this  singular  form  somewhat  startled  his  executors ; 
but  as  all  the  necessary  formalities  had  been  observed,  no  difficulty 
occurred,  and  it  was  carried  out  in  entire  conformity  with  his  wishes, 
without  any  interference  on  the  part  of  the  law. 

A  Will  in  Rhyme 

Another  poetic  will,  that  of  John  Hedges,  late  of  Finchley, 
Middlesex,  was  proved  in  an  Enghsh  court  on  July  5,  1737,  and  is 
worthy  of  a  place  among  quaint  and  eccentric  wills.  It  reads  as 
follows : 

"This  fifth  of  May, 
Being  airy  and  gay. 


66        ANCIENT,   CURIOUS,  AND  FAMOUS  WILLS 

To  trip  not  inclined. 
But  of  vigorous  mind, 
And  my  body  in  health, 
I'll  dispose  of  my  wealth ; 
And  of  all  I'm  to  leave 
On  this  side  the  grave. 
To  some  one  or  other, 
I  think  to  my  brother. 

**  But  because  I  presaw 
That  my  brother-in-law 
I  did  not  take  care, 
Would  come  in  for  a  share. 
Which  I  noways  intended, 
Till  their  manners  were  mended  — 
And  of  that  there's  no  sign. 

"  I  do  therefore  enjoin, 
And  strictly  command. 
As  witness  my  hand. 
That  nought  I  have  got 
Be  brought  to  hotch-pot. 

"  And  I  give  and  devise. 
Much  as  in  me  lies. 
To  the  son  of  my  mother/ 
My  own  dear  brother. 
To  have  and  to  hold 
All  my  silver  and  gold, 
As  the  affectionate  pledges 
Of  his  brother, 

"  John  Hedges." 


Will  of  William  Hickington 

William  Hickington,  who  died  in  the  year  1770,  wrote  his  will 
in  rhyme,  as  follows  : 

"This  is  my  last  will, 
I  insist  on  it  still ; 
To  sneer  on  and  welcome. 
And  e'en  laugh  your  fill. 


ANCIENT,   CURIOUS,  AND  FAMOUS  WILLS        67 

I,  William  Hickington, 
Poet  of  Pocklington, 
Do  give  and  bequeath. 
As  free  as  I  breathe, 
To  thee,  Mary  Jarum, 
The  Queen  of  my  Harum, 
My  cash  and  my  cattle, 
With  every  chattel, 
To  have  and  to  hold, 
Come  heat  or  come  cold. 
Sans  hindrance  or  strife, 
Though  thou  art  not  my  wife. 
As  witness  my  hand, 
Just  here  as  I  stand. 
The  twelfth  of  July, 
In  the  year  Seventy. 

"Wm.  Hickington." 

This  will  was  admitted  to  probate  at  the  Deanery  Court  in  the 
City  of  York,  England,  1770. 

Will  of  Will  Jackett 

This  will  was  proved  at  Doctors'  Commons,  London,  on  July  17, 
1789,  and  runs  as  follows  : 

"  I  give  and  bequeath. 

When  I'm  laid  underneath. 
To  my  two  loving  sisters  most  dear, 

The  whole  of  my  store. 

Were  it  twice  as  much  more. 
Which  God's  goodness  has  given  me  here. 

**  And  that  none  may  prevent 

This  my  will  and  intent. 
Or  occasion  the  least  of  law-racket. 

With  a  solemn  appeal 

I  confirm,  sign,  and  seal 
This  the  true  act  and  deed  of  Will  Jackett." 

Mr.  William  Jackett,  it  appears,  was  a  faithful  and  trustworthy 
as  well  as  a  thrifty  fellow,  for  he  remained  for  thirty  years  in  the 
service  of  Messrs.  Fuller  and  Vaughan  as  manager  of  their  business. 
He  resided  in  the  parish  of  St,  Mary,  Islington. 


68        ANCIENT,   CURIOUS,   AND  FAMOUS  WILLS 

Will  of  an  Irish  Schoolmaster 

The  following  is  the  will  of  Pat  O'Kelly,  an  Irish  schoolmaster, 
who  wrote,  on  the  leaf  of  a  copybook  which  he  had  just  finished 
ruling  (thus  exemplifying  the  ruling  passion  strong  in  death),  the 
lines  here  transcribed : 

"I,  having  neither  kith  nor  kin, 
Bequeath  all  I  have  named  herein 
To  Harriet  my  dearest  wife, 
To  have  and  hold  as  hers  for  life. 
While  in  good  health,  and  sound  in  mind, 
This  codicil  I've  undersigned." 

Rather  Sacrilegious 

The  spirit  of  sacrilege  is  shown  in  an  old  quatrain  to  be  found  in 
the  books : 

"In  the  name  of  God,  Amen  : 
My  featherbed  to  my  wife,  Jen ; 
Also  my  carpenter's  saw  and  hammer ; 
Until  she  marries ;  then,  God  damn  her  ! " 

Will  of  William  Ruffell,  Esq. 

William  Ruffell  of  Shimphng,  Suffolk,  England,  was  a  gentleman 
of  an  ancient  and  highly  respectable  family  ;  he  is  said  to  have  been 
a  good  specimen  of  an  old-fashioned  gentleman  farmer.  His  will, 
which  was  written  in  1803,  is  as  follows : 

"As  this  life  must  soon  end,  and  my  frame  will  decay, 
And  my  soul  to  some  far-distant  clime  wing  its  way. 
Ere  that  time  arrives,  now  I  free  am  from  cares, 
I  thus  wish  to  settle  my  worldly  affairs, 
A  course  right  and  proper  men  of  sense  will  agree. 
I  am  now  strong  and  hearty,  my  age  forty-three ; 
I  make  this  my  last  will,  as  I  think  'tis  quite  time. 
It  conveys  all  I  wish,  though  'tis  written  in  rhyme. 
To  employ  an  attorney  I  ne'er  was  inclin'd. 
They  are  pests  to  society,  sharks  of  mankind. 
To  avoid  that  base  tribe  my  own  will  I  now  draw. 
May  I  ever  escape  coming  under  their  pav/. 
To  Ezra  Dalton,  my  nephew,  I  give  all  my  land, 
With  the  old  Gothic  cottage  that  thereon  doth  stand; 


ANCIENT,   CURIOUS,   AND   FAMOUS  WILLS        69 

'Tis  near  Shimpling  great  road,  in  which  I  now  dwell, 

It  looks  like  a  chapel  or  hermit's  old  cell, 

With  my  furniture,  plate,  and  linen  likewise. 

And  securities,  money,  with  what  may  arise. 

'Tis  my  wish  and  desire  that  he  should  enjoy  these, 

And  pray  let  him  take  even  my  skin,  if  he  please. 

To  my  loving,  kind  sister  I  give  and  bequeath. 

For  her  tender  regard,  when  this  world  I  shall  leave, 

If  she  choose  to  accept  it,  my  rump-bone  may  take. 

And  tip  it  with  silver,  a  whistle  to  make. 

My  brother-in-law  is  a  strange-tempered  dog ; 

He's  as  fierce  as  a  tiger,  in  manners  a  hog ; 

A  petty  tyrant  at  home,  his  frowns  how  they  dread ; 

Two  ideas  at  once  never  entered  his  head. 

So  proud  and  so  covetous,  moreover  so  mean, 

I  dislike  to  look  at  him,  the  fellow  is  so  lean. 

He  ne'er  behaved  well,  and,  though  very  unwilling. 

Yet  I  feel  that  I  must  cut  him  off  with  a  shilling. 

My  executors,  too,  should  be  men  of  good  fame ; 

I  appoint  Edmund  Ruffell,  of  Cockfield,  by  name ; 

In  his  old  easy  chair,  with  short  pipe  and  snuff, 

What  matter  his  whims,  he  is  honest  enough ; 

With  Samuel  Seely,  of  Alpheton  Lion, 

I  like  his  strong  beer,  and  his  word  can  rely  on. 

When  Death's  iron  hand  gives  the  last  fatal  blow. 

And  my  shattered  old  frame  in  the  dust  must  lie  low, 

Without  funeral  pomp  let  my  remains  be  conveyed 

To  Brent  Eleigh  churchyard,  near  my  father  be  laid. 

This,  written  with  my  own  hand,  there  can  be  no  appeal, 

I  now  therefore  at  once  set  my  hand  and  my  seal. 

As  being  my  last  will ;  I  to  this  fully  agree. 

This  eighteenth  day  of  March,  eighteen  hundred  and  three." 

Two  English  Wills 

The  following  is  a  copy  of  the  will  of  the  late  Mr.  Joshua  West, 
of  the  Six  Clerks'  Office,  Chancery  Lane,  dated  December  13,  1804  : 

"Perhaps  I  died  not  worth  a  groat ; 

But  should  I  die  worth  something  more. 
Then  I  give  that,  and  my  best  coat. 
And  all  my  manuscripts  in  store, 


70        ANCIENT,   CURIOUS,  AND   FAMOUS  WILLS 

To  those  who  shall  the  goodness  have 

To  cause  my  poor  remains  to  rest 
Within  a  decent  shell  and  grave. 
This  is  the  will  of  Joshua  West. 

"Joshua  West. 
"Witnessed  R.  Mills. 

J.  A.  Berry. 
John  Baines." 

Mr.  West  died  possessed  of  property,  and  some  valuable  manu- 
scripts, which  were  conveyed  by  the  above  will. 

The  following  will  in  rhyme  was  written  by  William  Hunnis,  a 
gentleman  of  the  chapel  under  Edward  VI.,  and  afterwards  Chapel 
Master  to  Queen  Elizabeth  : 

"To  God  my  soule  I  do  bequeathe,  because  it  is  his  owen, 
My  body  to  be  layd  in  grave,  where  to  my  friends  best  knowen ; 
Executors  I  will  none  make,  thereby  great  stryfe  may  grow. 
Because  the  goods  that  I  shall  leave  wyll  not  pay  all  I  owe." 

Will  of  James  Bigsby 

The  following  is  a  curious  testamentary  paper  of  a  North 
Essex  laborer,  who  resided  at  Manningtree,  England  : 

"As  I  feel  very  queer  my  will  I  now  make; 
Write  it  down,  Joseph  Finch,  and  make  no  mistake. 
I  wish  to  leave  all  things  fair  and  right,  do  you  see. 
And  my  relatives  satisfy.     Now,  listen  to  me. 
The  first  in  my  will  is  Lydia  my  wife. 
Who  to  me  proved  a  comfort  three  years  of  my  life ; 
The  second  my  poor  aged  mother  I  say. 
With  whom  I  have  quarrelled  on  many  a  day. 
For  which  I've  been  sorry,  and  also  am  still ; 
I  wish  to  give  her  a  place  in  my  will. 
The  third  that  I  mention  is  my  dear  little  child ; 
When  I  think  of  her,  Joseph,  I  feel  almost  wild. 
Uncle  Sam  Bigsby,  I  must  think  of  him  too, 
Peradventure  he  will  say  that  I  scarcely  can  do. 
And  poor  Uncle  Gregory,  I  must  leave  him  a  part. 
If  it  is  nothing  else  but  the  back  of  the  cart. 
And  for  you,  my  executor,  I  will  do  what  I  can. 
For  acting  towards  me  like  an  honest  young  man. 


ANCIENT,   CURIOUS,  AND  FAMOUS  WILLS        71 

"  Now,  to  my  wife  I  bequeath  greater  part  of  my  store ; 
First  thing  is  the  bedstead  before  the  front  door ; 
The  next  is  the  chair  standing  by  the  fireside. 
The  fender  and  irons  she  cleaned  with  much  pride. 
I  also  bequeath  to  Lydia  my  wife 
A  box  in  the  cupboard,  a  sword,  a  gun,  and  knife, 
And  the  harmless  old  pistol  without  any  lock. 
Which  no  man  can  fire  off,  for  'tis  minus  a  cock. 
The  cups  and  the  saucers  I  leave  her  also, 
And  a  book  called  '  The  History  of  Poor  Little  Mo,' 
With  the  kettle,  the  boiler,  and  old  frying-pan, 
A  shovel,  a  mud-scoop,  a  pail,  and  a  pan. 
And  remember,  I  firmly  declare  my  protest 
That  my  poor  aged  mother  shall  have  my  oak  chest 
And  the  broken  whip  under  it.     Do  you  hear  what  I  say  ? 
Write  all  these  things  down  without  any  delay. 
And  my  dear  little  child,  I  must  think  of  her  too. 
Friend  Joseph,  I  am  dying,  what  shall  I  do  ? 
I  give  her  my  banyan,  my  cap,  and  my  hose. 
My  big  monkey-jacket,  my  shirt,  and  my  shoes ; 
And  to  Uncle  Sam  Bigsby,  I  bequeath  my  high  boots. 
The  pickaxe  and  mattock  with  which  I  stubbed  roots. 
And  poor  Uncle  Gregory,  with  the  whole  of  my  heart, 
I  give  for  a  bedstead  the  back  of  the  cart. 
And  to  you,  my  executor,  last  in  my  will, 
I  bequeath  a  few  trifles  to  pay  off  your  bill. 
I  give  you  my  shot-belt,  my  dog,  and  my  nets, 
And  the  rest  of  my  goods  sell  to  pay  off  my  debts. 

"Joseph  Finch,  Executor. 
"Dated  February  4th,  1839." 


From  Missouri 

Under  the  spell  of  the  Muse,  Joseph  Johnson  Cassiday,  a  well- 
known  farmer  of  Jasper  County,  Missouri,  prepared  his  will  in 
rhyme ;  for  several  years  this  document  answered  the  purposes  of 
the  testator;  just  prior  to  his  death,  however,  in  March,  1910, 
more  serious  thoughts  seem  to  have  come  over  him,  and  Mr.  Cassiday 
executed  a  different  will,  the  last  being  done  in  the  usual  prose 
form.     The  will  in  rhyme  is  given  below : 


72        ANCIENT,   CURIOUS,  AND  FAMOUS  WILLS 

"I,  Joseph  Johnson  Cassiday, 
Being  sound  of  mind  and  memory, 
Do  hereby  publish  my  intent, 
This  my  will  and  testament. 
That  all  my  just  debts  first  be  paid, 
Expense  for  burial  and  funeral  made. 
And  all  expenses  made  of  late, 
Out  of  my  personal  and  real  estate. 
I  do  bequeath,  devise  and  give, 
As  long  as  she,  my  wife,  shall  live. 
Lot  six  in  the  original  town  of  Lever, 
To  her  assigns  and  heirs  forever. 
To  my  adopted  daughter  Marie, 
I  do  devise  and  give  in  fee. 
The  southeast  quarter  of  section  seven 
Township  nine  and  range  eleven. 
To  my  two  sons  Josephus  and  Reach, 
I  do  devise  one  dollar  each. 
The  residue  of  my  estate, 
I  do  bequeath  to  Mary  Kate, 
And  I  hereby  appoint  her  for, 
My  last  will,  executor. 
This  eighteenth  day  of  May  was  done. 
In  the  year  of  our  Lord,  Nineteen  One." 


CHAPTER  IV 

CURIOUS   WILLS 

"  Most  men  are  within  a  finger's  breadth  of  being  mad ;  for  if  a  man  walk  with 
his  middle  finger  pointing  out,  folk  will  think  him  mad,  but  not  so  if  it  be  his  fore- 
finger." 

"  Where  be  your  Gibes  now  ?  Your  Gambols  ?  Your  songs  ?  Your  flashes  of 
merriment,  that  were  wont  to  set  the  table  on  a  roar?  " 


Husbands,  Wives,  and  Children 

"  Men  should  be  careful  lest  they  cause  women  to  weep,  for  God  counts  their  tears." 

An  editorial  on  "Testamentary  Habits  and  Peculiar  Wills," 
appeared  in  the  Western  Reserve  Law  Journal  some  time  ago.  Its 
excellence  merits  a  reproduction  in  part : 

"  The  laws  of  human  nature  underlie  all  systems  of  jurisprudence. 
Positive  law  is  evolved  out  of  long  periods  of  human  phenomena. 
The  general  systems  of  law  are  the  composite  products  of  innumer- 
able generations  of  men.  These  accepted  codes  are  supposed  to 
embody  the  survivals  of  an  immemorial  struggle  between  right  and 
wrong,  and  the  highest  sentiments  of  justice,  and  the  clearest  per- 
fection of  reason  of  all  ages.  But  it  is  a  remarkable  fact  that  one- 
half  of  all  the  property  in  the  world,  in  the  succession  of  genera- 
tions, is  transmitted  and  controlled  by  the  supreme  purpose  and 
disposition  of  individual  men  and  women.  The  tenure  of  property 
is  not  always  held,  nor  is  it  transmitted,  according  to  legislative 
enactments  or  judicial  law.  Under  the  testamentary  privilege  se- 
cured by  law  the  unenhghtened  mind  often  becomes  the  legislature 
which  frames  and  promulgates  the  rule  of  descent  which  fixes  the 
destiny  of  millions  of  property.  The  perfect  freedom  and  untram- 
melled modes  of  expression,  secured  in  the  will-making  privilege, 
results  in  the  manifestation  of  the  most  normal  and  spontaneous 
spirit  of  the  individual. 

"  For  genuine  and  authentic  repositories  of  human  idiosyncrasies 
and  whimsical  peculiarities,  as  well  as  lofty  sentiments  and  noble 
thoughts  on  high  themes,  there  is  nothing  comparable  with  the  last 


74        ANCIENT,  CURIOUS,  AND  FAMOUS  WILLS 

will  and  testament.     There  are  several  reasons  for  the  existence 
of  this  fact. 

"1st.  The  will  is  usually  the  product  of  grave  thought  and  delib- 
eration. It  is  the  matured  disposition  of  the  individual  testator, 
framed  and  published  in  the  exercise  of  one  of  the  highest  and  best 
appreciated  rights  granted  by  society  to  the  individual.  The  will 
is  also  the  outgrowth  of  the  individual's  sense  of  duty  involved  in 
sacred  domestic  and  family  obligations  and  relationships. 

"2d.  The  right  to  make  the  will  confers  the  privilege  coveted  by 
both  men  and  women  to  speak  into  the  universal  ear  'the  last 
word.'  The  sum  of  man's  moral  sense,  and  his  exact  ethical  tone, 
is  not  infrequently  concentrated  in  his  last  will. 

"  3d.  In  the  ages  of  the  world,  when  the  agitation  of  religious 
beliefs  was  most  prevalent,  men  were  prone  to  give  a  summary 
of  their  opinions  upon  religion  in  their  wills.  The  rites  and  ceremo- 
nies of  sepulchre  are  often  prescribed ;  the  belief  in  immortality  is 
often  expressed  in  these  sacred  documents.  The  vanities  and 
foibles,  the  whims  and  caprices,  the  eccentricities  and  prejudices, 
all  leave  their  exact  mould  and  expression  in  this  important  instru- 
ment. The  cynic  adopts  this  means  of  giving  a  parting  blow  to  the 
unfriendly  and  unsympathizing  world.  It  is  said  that  the  mould 
and  fashion  of  the  human  form  was  so  preserved  in  ancient  Egypt 
by  the  embalmer's  art  that  the  pecuHar  physiognomy  of  the  Pha- 
raohs is  discovered  after  three  thousand  years  of  burial.  This  art  of 
preservation  has  been  lost.  But  in  the  numerous  receptacles  for 
recorded  wills  in  Europe  and  America  are  found  the  mummified  in- 
tellectual and  spiritual  remains  of  past  generations  as  clearly 
and  positively  embalmed  as  are  the  bodies  of  the  Pharaohs. 

"  It  is  interesting  to  note  the  influence  of  long-established  customs 
upon  the  social  habits  of  people.  The  present  habitat  of  the  will- 
making  people  is  continental  Europe.  This  fact  is  susceptible  of 
easy  explanation.  The  jurisprudence  of  the  continent  is  founded 
on  Roman  law.  Sir  Henry  Sumner  Maine  has  well  said :  '  To 
the  Romans  belong  preeminently  the  credit  of  inventing  the  will, 
the  institution  which,  next  to  the  contract,  has  exercised  the 
greatest  influence  in  transforming  human  society.  ...  To  the 
Roman  no  evil  seems  to  have  been  a  heavier  visitation  than  the 
forfeiture  of  testamentary  privilege ;  no  curse  seems  to  have  been 
bitterer  than  that  imprecated  upon  an  enemy  'that  he  might  die 
without  a  will. '  " 


ANCIENT,   CURIOUS,   AND  FAMOUS  WILLS        75 

"The  odd  freaks,  vagaries  and  vanities  of  men  thus  find  permanent 
lodgment  in  testamentary  remains.  While  these  features  of  the  will 
at  first  appear  to  defy  classification,  yet  by  careful  examination, 
extending  over  long  periods,  the  manifestation  of  unvarying 
habits  of  mind,  and  the  existence  of  constant  and  controlling  in- 
stincts and  motives,  are  readily  discovered. 

"  These  natures  of  ours,  when  freely  dealing  with  the  subject  of 
property,  and  exhibiting  solemn  sentiments  upon  duty  and  destiny, 
unconsciously  yield  to  fundamental  laws  of  uniform  operation ; 
and  these  testamentary  memorials  may  be  made  to  furnish  much 
curious  instruction  upon  psychological  and  sociological  subjects." 

Duty  of  Husbands  to  make  Wills 

The  following  article  from  the  pen  of  Harriette  M.  Johnston- 
Wood,  of  the  New  York  bar,  appeared  in  Harper  s  Weekly  in  the  issue 
of  September  24,  1910  ;  there  is  much  in  it  which  should  appeal  to 
the  sense  of  justice  and  manhood  of  the  husbands,  brothers  and 
sons  of  our  country.  The  barbaric  treatment  of  women  with 
reference  to  property  rights  should  no  longer  find  a  place  in  the 
laws  of  a  country  which  boasts  of  its  enlightenment  and  freedom  as 
does  the  United  States.  It  is  gratifying  to  record  that  a  more 
liberal  policy  is  fast  being  adopted  by  the  law-making  bodies  of 
our  States. 

Our  author  says : 

"It  has  been  our  custom  for  a  number  of  years  to  pass  our  summer 
vacation  on  the  banks  of  Lake  Seneca,  where  one  of  us  was  born. 
Here  our  paternal  grandparents  came  when  the  country  was  yet  a 
wilderness,  and  here  they  hved  and  died.  Their  wedding  journey 
from  Rensselaerwick  was  made  in  a  covered  wagon,  in  which  they 
brought  their  worldly  possessions,  some  chairs,  a  table,  a  bed,  a  stove, 
some  dishes  and  cooking  utensils.  A  half-dozen  sheep  and  a  cow 
brought  up  the  rear  of  this  caravan.  Here  they  cleared  the  ground 
and  built  a  house.  Grandmother  dyed  and  carded  and  spun  into 
yarn  and  wove  into  cloth  the  wool  from  the  sheep,  from  which  she 
knitted  the  socks  and  mittens  and  made  the  clothing.  From  the 
flax  which  grew  wild  thereabouts  she  made  the  household  linen. 
No  small  tasks  were  these  when  eventually  nine  children  came  to 
demand  care  and  protection.  Once  a  year  a  perambulating  shoe- 
maker came  through  the  country,  and  then  this  small  army  was 
shod,  with  boots  and  shoes  in  reserve  sufficient  to  last  until  his 


76        ANCIENT,   CURIOUS,  AND  FAMOUS  WILLS 

return.  By  and  by  a  frame  house  was  built,  a  luxury  in  those  days ; 
property  was  accumulated. 

"  To  whom  did  it  belong  ? 

"  In  justice  and  equity  it  belonged  to  both  parents.  Each  had 
borne  the  burden ;  each  should  share  in  the  reward.  But  the  law 
said  no.  The  wife's  services  belong  to  the  husband,  and  their 
joint  earnings  belong  to  him,  only  the  husband  must  support  the 
wife.  The  wife  owned  nothing.  Truly  a  munificent  compensation 
for  fifty  years  of  service  such  as  this  ! 

"  Did  grandfather  support  grandmother  ?  Were  grandmother's 
services  less  valuable  than  grandfather's  ?  By  what  righteous 
authority  did  everything  belong  to  grandfather  ?  —  he  being  al- 
lowed to  give  or  will  away  everything,  except  the  use  of  one-third  of 
the  real  estate,  which  grandmother  might  have  after  his  death,  but 
for  her  lifetime  only.  It  was  barely  possible  that  grandmother 
might  have  hked  to  give  or  will  something  to  her  children  on  her 
own  account.  When  she  had  earned  it,  by  years  of  toil  as  hard  as 
his,  why  should  she  not  have  been  allowed  to  gratify  this  altogether 
worthy  ambition  ? 

"  J'orty  years  ago  a  boy  and  a  girl  married.  He  had  nothing. 
She  had  saved  five  hundred  dollars  teaching  school.  They  bought 
a  farm,  paying  her  five  hundred  dollars  down,  and  taking  a  mort- 
gage for  the  balance.  Title  was  taken  in  the  husband's  name. 
They  worked  together  for  forty  years.  He  died,  leaving  no  will. 
There  were  no  children.  Under  the  law  of  the  State  the  property 
went  to  his  brothers  and  sisters,  all  old,  all  well-to-do.  The  person- 
alty amounted  to  very  little.  The  wife's  dower,  the  use  of  one- 
third  during  her  life,  amounts  to  less  than  $200  a  year,  and  this  is 
her  sole  support  in  her  old  age. 

"  In  that  section  of  the  country  women  can  get  one  dollar  a  day 
for  at  least  half  the  year  working  in  fruit,  tying  grape-vines,  putting 
handles  on  baskets,  picking  berries,  cherries,  and  currants,  and 
packing  grapes,  peaches  and  plums.  Household  service  is  always  at 
a  premium,  as  no  one  there  will  go  out  to  do  that  kind  of  work. 
They  are  the  descendants  of  the  old  settlers  and  are  proud.  The 
married  women  work  in  the  fruit  in  the  daytime,  and  perform  their 
household  duties  at  night.  This  means  baking  and  cooking  and 
stewing,  and  washing  and  ironing  and  mending  for  the  hired  men 
as  well  as  the  family.  Incidentally  they  raise  children.  No  one 
person  could  be  hired  to  do  this  work.  They  do  it  for  love,  but  we 
beheve  there  is  no  insurmountable  obstacle  in  the  way  of  getting 


ANCIENT,   CURIOUS,   AND  FAMOUS  WILLS        77 

both  love  and  justice;  we  believe  that  love  and  injustice  are 
irreconcilable,  —  and  if  we  must  choose  between  them,  my  advice 
is  to  exact  justice  and  take  a  chance  on  love. 

"  To  wife's  services,  40  years  at  $3  per  week  (worth  $5), 
allowing  for  clothing,  which  she  makes  herself  and  which 
seldom  equals  and  rarely  exceeds  $30  a  year,  about  .  .  $30,000 

To  $500  and  interest,  40  years,  about 6,000 

Total     $36,000 

"  Would  the  whole  estate  have  been  more  than  this  wife  was 
entitled  to  ? 

"  A  bride  was  presented  by  her  uncle  with  $2000,  with  which  the 
thrifty  bridegroom  bought  sheep.  It  proved  a  profitable  invest- 
ment, and  in  time  they  were  well-to-do.  At  the  expiration  of  fifty 
years  of  matrimony  and  mutual  toil  (which  included  the  rearing 
of  six  children)  the  husband  died.  By  his  last  will  and  testament 
he  gave  to  his  beloved  wife  two  thousand  dollars  in  cash,  or  her 
dower  interest  in  his  real  estate.  The  wife  took  the  cash.  Her 
original  two  thousand  dollars  for  fifty  years  then  amounted  to 
about  $60,000. 

"  This  shows  that  a  wife  may  be  considered  to  be  a  good  in- 
vestment. 

******* 

"  A  clerk  in  a  delicatessen  store  in  a  large  city  married  a  German 
governess.  They  started  a  similar  store  of  their  own  and  lived  in 
the  rear.  The  wife  did  the  housework  and  the  cooking  and  baking 
for  the  store,  and  between  times  waited  on  customers.  They  were 
frugal  and  prospered.  After  twenty  years  the  husband  died. 
The  wife  naturally  thought  she  was  entitled  to  the  property,  at 
least  a  portion  of  it.  But  the  husband  had  made  a  will  prior  to  his 
marriage,  whereby  he  devised  his  property  to  his  brothers  and  sisters. " 
******* 

"The  staple  argument  of  the  opponents  of  equal  laws  for  men  and 
women  is  that  wives  are  privileged  in  that  they  can  do  with  their 
own  as  they  like,  while  the  husbands  cannot.  But  is  the  property 
the  husband's  any  more  than  the  wife's  when  they  accumulate  it 
jointly  ?  Up  to  the  marriageable  age  girls  earn  nothing ;  after 
marriage  their  services  belong  to  their  husbands.  \Miere  is  the 
opportunity  to  accumulate  property  which  shall  be  their  very  own  in 
the  eyes  of  the  law,  with  which  they  may  do  as  they  like .''     What 


78        ANCIENT,   CURIOUS,  AND  FAMOUS  WILLS 

provision  can  they  make  for  possible  incapacity  and  certain  old  age 
if  they  Uve  ?" 

Will  of  a  Chinaman 

There  was  filed  in  the  Surrogate's  Office  of  Queens  County, 
New  York,  on  October  1,  1910,  what  the  newspapers  refer  to  as 
the  queerest  instrument  ever  recorded  in  New  York  City.  The 
testator  was  John  Ling,  a  Chinaman,  of  Woodbridge,  New  Jersey. 

The  original  will  was  probated  in  Middlesex  County,  New  Jersey, 
but  as  Ling  was  the  owner  of  considerable  real  estate  in  Queens 
County,  before  settlement  could  be  made  an  exemplified  copy  of  the 
will  had  to  be  filed  there. 

It  appears  that  John  Ling,  Jr.,  a  son  of  the  deceased,  had  taken 
an  Irish  bride,  much  against  the  will  of  his  father.  The  China- 
man was  enraged,  and  talked  long  and  earnestly  with  his  son  upon 
the  subject.  But  to  no  avail.  The  young  man  refused  to  leave 
his  Irish  bride.     When  the  old  man  died,  he  left  the  following  will : 

"First,  I  leave  and  bequeath  to  John  Ling,  my  son,  the  sum  of  $1. 
With  the  said  sum  of  $1,  or  100  cents,  I  wish  that  he  would  purchase 
a  rope  strong  and  long  enough  to  support  his  Irish  wife ;  the  said 
sum  of  $1  to  be  paid  six  months  after  my  decease  by  my  wife,  her 
heirs  or  executors. 

"Secondly,  I  leave  and  bequeath  to  my  wife,  Mary  Ling,  all 
property,  whether  in  America  or  England,  that  I  may  be  possessed 
of,  during  her  natural  life ;  and  at  her  death  said  property  is  to  be 
equally  divided  between  Samson  and  Mary  Ling,  son  and  daughter 
of  John  and  Mary  Ling;  and  should  neither  Samson  nor  Mary 
survive  to  come  in  possession  of  the  said  property  now  belonging 
to  John  and  Mary  Ling,  the  property  is  then  to  descend  unto  John 
Ling,  the  son  of  Joseph  Ling,  my  nephew,  now  residing  in  Europe, 
with  the  exception  of  the  $1  to  be  paid  to  my  son,  John  Ling." 

Two  Hundred  Dollars  for  a  Husband 

According  to  the  New  York  Sun,  an  attractive  young  German 
woman  of  Washington,  D.C.,  walked  into  a  newspaper  office  in  that 
city  on  October  11, 1910,  and  requested  the  insertion  of  the  follow- 
ing advertisement : 

"  'Young  woman,  fairly  wealthy,  from  foreign  country,  desires  to 
meet  at  once  some  poor  young  man.     Object,  matrimony.' 

"  She  gave  her  name  as  Eugenie  Adams,  but  admitted  that  this 
was  an  assumed  name.     She  said  she  was  willing  to  give  her  pro- 


ANCIENT,   CURIOUS,  AND  FAMOUS  ^VILLS        79 

spective  husband  a  bonus  of  $200.  She  explained  that  her  uncle, 
who  lived  in  Germany,  had  named  her  as  the  beneficiary  in  his  will, 
provided  she  married  in  a  week. 

" '  You  see  it  is  this  way,'  she  explained  with  a  German  accent, 
*my  old  uncle  is  very  eccentric.  He  lives  in  the  Fatherland,  where 
all  my  people  are.  He  has  named  me  the  beneficiary  of  his  will  if 
I  am  married  by  a  week  from  to-day.  I  am  very  poor.  I  want  the 
money.  I  plan  to  get  married  in  order  to  obtain  it.  I  will  pay  any 
young  man  $200  to  marry  me. 

" '  But  I  will  be  no  trouble  to  him,'  she  continued.  '  I  will  get  a 
divorce  from  him  at  once  and  never  see  him  again.  I  do  not  want 
to  remain  married.  I  only  want  to  return  to  Germany  at  once  with 
my  marriage  papers.     Could  a  man  make  $200  in  an  easier  way  ?' 

"  She  declined  to  give  the  amount  of  the  legacy  she  expected  to 
obtain  through  her  marriage." 

The  Result 

The  St.  Louis  Times  in  a  recent  editorial  comments  on  the  "  Two- 
hundred-dollar  Husband,"  as  follows : 

"  We  have  been  much  interested  in  a  story  which  has  been  tele- 
graphed from  Washington,  and  which  relates  the  circumstances 
under  which  a  presentable  fraulein  bought  a  husband,  in  order  that 
she  might  inherit  an  estate  —  which  was  willed  her  on  the  condition 
that  she  marry  within  a  given  time. 

"  She  appears  to  have  wanted  the  estate  badly,  though  the  idea  of 
having  a  husband  did  not  appeal  to  her  at  all.  Perhaps  there  was 
a  ruddy  faced  Heine  at  home  with  whom  she  had  danced  in  the  old 
days,  and  who  still  held  her  heart  in  thrall.  Be  that  as  it  may  — 
as  Laura  Jean  Libbey  would  say  —  she  married  her  emergency 
husband  in  Washington  only  because  she  had  to,  in  order  to  get  the 
estate. 

"  She  did  not  wish  ever  to  see  her  husband  again,  and  when  a 
sailor  appeared  in  response  to  her  advertisement,  she  rather  liked 
the  looks  of  him  —  for  the  occasion  at  hand  —  but  decided,  wisely, 
that  he  would  not  do,  because  'he  travelled  around  the  world, 
and  she  might  see  him  again.'  She  finally  decided  in  favor  of  one 
Harry  Oliver  Brown,  who  wore  a  flowing  sandy  mustache,  and  a 
celluloid  collar,  and  carried  a  walking-stick.  We  should  have 
thought  the  flowing  sandy  mustache  would  have  been  enough, 
though  we  have  no  objection  to  the  celluloid  collar  and  the  walking- 
stick,  if  they  be  thought  to  possess  a  corroborative  value. 


80        ANCIENT,   CURIOUS,  AND  FAMOUS  WILLS 

"  And  so  the  two  were  married,  and  Mrs.  Brown  gave  her  hired 
husband  $200  and  bade  him  good-by  and  left,  without  even  saying 
she  would  hurry  back,  and  boarded  a  ship  for  the  Fatherland, 
where  the  estate  was  —  and,  presumably,  is. 

"  We  have  related  this  quaint  fable  because  it  seems  to  possess  a 
valuable  idea  for  those  who  contemplate  matrimony,  not  because 
they  consider  themselves  fitted  for  it  in  any  way,  but  because  they 
feel  they  'have  to  get  married'  —  so  much  the  slave  to  pubHc 
opinion  are  many  estimable  young  people. 

"  If  the  thing  has  to  be  done,  we  commend  the  method  of  Mrs. 
Harry  Ohver  Brown.  A  sandy  mustache,  a  celluloid  collar,  and 
a  walking-stick  can  always  be  had  for  a  song  —  and  there  is  not  a 
very  heavy  percentage  of  sailors." 

Knew  her  Disposition 

It  is  recorded  of  an  old  English  farmer,  that,  in  giving  instructions 
for  his  will,  he  directed  a  legacy  of  one  hundred  pounds  be  given  to 
his  widow.  Being  informed  that  some  distinction  was  usually  made 
in  case  the  widow  married  again,  he  doubled  the  sum ;  and  when 
told  that  this  was  quite  contrary  to  custom,  he  said,  with  heartfelt 
sympathy  for  his  possible  successor,  "Aye,  but  him  as  gets  her'll 
deserve  it." 

Clothes  on  a  Hickory  Limb 

The  will  of  Charles  C.  Dickinson,  former  president  of  the  Car- 
negie Trust  Company,  who  died  a  few  months  ago,  contains  a 
bequest  of  $4000  for  the  education  of  his  son  Charles,  at  Cornell, 
with  the  strange  stipulation  that  the  son  shall  forfeit  this  allowance 
if  he  goes  "to  or  upon  Cayuga  Lake." 

The  lake  is  used  by  the  Cornell  crews  and  by  students  for  canoe- 
ing and  sailing. 

To  a  nephew  he  leaves  $2000  for  educational  purposes,  with  the 
same  restrictions  regarding  Cayuga  Lake. 

Sarcastic  Will 

A  British  sailor  requested  his  executors  to  pay  to  his  wife  one 
shilling,  wherewith  to  buy  hazelnuts,  as  she  had  always  preferred 
cracking  nuts  to  mending  his  stockings. 


ANCIENT,  CURIOUS,  AND  FAMOUS  WILLS        81 

A  Contrite  Husband 

J.  Withipol  of  Walthamstow,  Essex  County,  England,  left  his 
landed  estates  to  his  wife,  "trusting,  yea,  I  may  say,  as  I  think, 
assuring  myself,  that  she  will  marry  no  man,  for  fear  to  meet  with 
so  evil  a  husband  as  I  have  been  to  her." 

Aunt  Lunky's  Will 

The  author  has  sought  with  little  success  for  wills  which  would 
portray  the  character  of  the  negro  race,  although  the  aid  of  Mr. 
Booker  T.  Washington  was  enlisted  in  this  behalf.  One,  however, 
is  offered : 

Aunt  Lunky  was  a  negro  servant  and  resided  in  Jacksonville, 
Illinois.  For  several  generations,  she  had  lived  with  the  same 
family  and  had  been  a  party  to  all  household  duties  and  functions 
during  that  period :  she  made  her  will,  and  her  savings,  some  two 
hundred  and  fifty  dollars,  she  left  to  "little  Billie."  "Little 
Billie"  was  the  great-grandson  of  her  employer,  and  the  pet  of  the 
household :  in  order  that  there  might  be  no  mistake  in  identifying 
the  legatee,  a  picture  of  the  baby  boy  was  securely  attached  to  the 
testament. 

Will  of  the  Duchesse  de  Praslin 

By  her  will  made  in  1784,  this  testatrix,  strangely  enough,  disin- 
herited her  own  children,  being  falsely  persuaded  that  her  husband 
had  substituted  for  them  others  whom  he  had  had  by  an  actress. 
She  made  her  legatees  the  grandchildren  of  the  Prince  de  Soubise, 
whom  she  did  not  even  know.  Her  will  was  contested,  and  set 
aside.  It  contained  another  singular  bequest  —  that  by  which 
she  left  to  her  husband  a  model  of  the  Cheval  de  Bronze  (the 
equestrian  statue  of  Henri  IV.  on  the  Pont  Neuf). 

Must  ever  Pray 

Not  long  ago  an  Italian  nobleman  left  all  his  money,  which 
amounted  to  about  $50,000,  to  his  wife,  "to  be  disposed  of  accord- 
ing to  her  own  ideas,"  provided  she  entered  a  religious  order  and 
spent  the  rest  of  her  life  praying  for  the  repose  of  his  soul.  If  she 
refused  the  conditions,  the  money  went  to  the  order  direct,  and  she 
got  nothing. 

The  poor  woman  is  now  fighting  the  will  in  court,  and  there  is 
said  to  be  some  prospect  that  the  estate  will  be  divided  and  one- 


82        ANCIENT,   CURIOUS,  AND  FAMOUS  WILLS 

half,  or  at  least  a  life  interest  in  the  income,  given  to  her.     This, 
however,  can  be  done  only  by  compromise. 

The  reason  for  this  strange  condition  is  said  to  have  been 
revenge.  The  wife  had  a  lover,  and  the  husband  did  not  discover 
the  fact  until  during  his  last  sickness,  when  she  neglected  previous 
precautions  and  he  learned  of  her  flirtations.  The  husband  was 
also  afraid  that  she  would  marry  her  lover,  and  is  said  to  have  told 
his  lawyer  that  he  would  fix  things  so  that  the  scoundrel  could  not 
have  the  benefit  of  his  money,  even  if  he  did  enjoy  the  affections 
of  his  wife. 

A  Cold  World 

Ellen  H.  Cooper,  West  Somerset  Street,  Philadelphia,  died 
recently.  Pathos  and  worldly  wisdom  are  mingled  in  her  will. 
She  wrote  the  instrument  with  her  own  hand.     It  follows  in  part : 

"All  the  money  and  furniture  I  have  has  been  saved  through  my 
earnings  and  hard  work,  therefore,  I  wish  my  two  sons,  John  W. 
Cooper  and  Bernard  M.  Cooper,  to  follow  to  the  letter  my  wishes. 

"My  one  real  anxiety  has  been  their  future  after  my  death. 
They  cannot  now  realize  what  a  lonely  life  theirs  will  be  without 
home  or  parents,  for  I  know,  except  one  has  money,  there  is  no  one 
to  care  what  becomes  of  one.  Therefore  I  have  saved  for  one 
purpose,  that  if  either,  or  both,  live  to  be  old  and  unable  to  work 
you  may  find  a  home  and  pay  so  much  to  be  kept  the  rest  of  their 
lives.  There  will  be  enough  left  to  clothe  you.  All  I  am  pos- 
sessed of  I  want  put  out  at  interest.  I  do  not  want  one  cent  of  it 
spent  otherwise,  excepting  what  it  takes  to  pay  my  funeral  ex- 
penses. Remember,  dear  boys,  this  is  a  cold  world  and  I  would 
long  since  have  been  glad  to  lay  down  my  burden  had  it  not  been 
for  my  love  for  you." 

Beautiful  Sentiments  to  Wives 

As  an  expression  of  controlling  impulses  and  ideas,  the  will  has 
ever  been  associated  with  the  home  and  family  life.  Some  of  the 
purest  and  sweetest  sentiments  of  the  human  heart  are  often  con- 
tained in  these  legal  muniments.  They  are  often  the  permanent 
repositories  of  the  loftiest  feelings  of  conjugal  and  domestic  affec- 
tion. More  than  fifty  per  cent  of  the  wills  made  bequeath  the 
bulk  of  the  estate,  absolutely  or  for  life,  to  the  surviving  spouse. 

A  beautiful  expression  of  this  holy  sentiment  of  affection  is 
found  in  the  will  of  John  Starkey,  probated  in  1861.     This  testator 


ANCIENT,   CURIOUS,  AND  FAMOUS  WILLS        83 

says:  "The  remainder  of  my  wealth  is  vested  in  the  affection  of 
my  dear  wife,  with  whom  I  leave  it,  in  the  good  hope  of  resuming 
it  more  pure,  bright  and  precious,  where  neither  moth  nor  rust  doth 
corrupt,  and  where  there  are  no  railways  or  monetary  panics  or 
fluctuations  of  exchange,  but  steadfast,  though  progressive  and 
unspeakable  riches  of  glory  and  immortality." 

The  following  is  another  example  of  solicitude  for  a  devoted 
wife.  Sharon  Turner,  the  eminent  author  of  the  "History  of  the 
Anglo-Saxons,"  dying  in  his  eightieth  year,  in  1847,  left  this  tes- 
timonial to  his  wife,  who  had  died  before  him  :  "It  is  my  comfort 
to  have  remembered  that  I  have  passed  with  her  nearly  forty-nine 
years  of  unabated  affection  and  connubial  happiness,  and  yet  she 
is  still  living,  as  I  earnestly  hope  and  believe,  under  her  Saviour's 
care,  in  a  superior  state  of  being."  He  was  anxious  that  her 
portrait,  which  he  directed  should  be  painted  and  bequeathed, 
should  correctly  represent  her.  He  then  adds  :  "None  of  the  por- 
traits of  my  beloved  wife  give  any  adequate  representation  of  her 
beautiful  face,  nor  of  the  sweet  and  intellectual  and  attractive 
appearance  of  her  living  features  and  general  countenance  and 
character." 

Kindness  to  Widows 

Testators  in  the  present  day  frequently  and  ungallantly  leave 
property  to  their  widows  only  so  long  as  they  shall  remain  un- 
married. In  looking  through  some  of  the  wills  of  the  time  of 
Henry  VII.,  we  do  not  find  such  a  condition  attached.  There  are 
many  instances  to  be  found,  however,  of  the  husband's  affectionate 
care  for  the  future  comfort  of  his  wife.  To  quote  two  or  three : 
First,  from  the  will  of  William  Parker :  "Also  I  make  Master 
John  Aggecombe,  Alderman  of  Oxford,  my  overseer,  to  se  my  last 
will  performed ;  and  I  geve  to  hym  for  his  labour  my  best  crymsyn 
gowne  so  that  he  be  frendly  to  Alice  my  wife."  In  the  will  of 
Robert  Offe,  of  Boston,  Lincolnshire,  after  appointing  Master 
Thomas  Robynson  and  Master  John  Robynson  overseers,  he  goes 
on  to  say :  "And  I  beseche  you,  maisters  both,  that  ye  be  good 
frends  unto  my  wyf,  and  that  ye  will  help  her."  William  Holy- 
brande,  gentleman  citizen  and  "tailler"  of  London,  bequeaths  to 
each  of  his  executors,  William  Bodley  and  William  Grove,  for  their 
labor,  £5  sterling,  and  "to  be  goode  and  kynde  to  my  wyie." 
He  appoints  as  overseer,  "Robert  Joyns,  my  cousin,  one  of  the 
gentleman  ushers  of  the  chambre  of  our  Sovaigne  Lorde   the 


84        ANCIENT,   CURIOUS,  AND  FAMOUS  WILLS 

Kynge,"  and  bequeaths  to  him  £5  sterling  "for  his  labour,  and 
that  he  may  help  my  wyfe  in  all  her  troubill,  if  any  shall  happen  to 
her  here  after."  He  also  gives  and  bequeaths  "to  Roger  Delle, 
my  servant,  so  that  he  be  lovyng  and  gentill  to  my  wyfe,  and  give 
a  trewe  accompte  for  such  besynese  as  he  hath  reconyng  of,  £5 
sterlinge."     These  three  wills  were  all  proved  in  1505. 

Would  not  be  Good 

In  1772,  a  gentleman  of  Surrey,  England,  died,  and  his  will 
being  opened  was  found  to  contain  this  peculiar  clause,  "Whereas, 

it  was  my  misfortune  to  be  made  very  uneasy  by ,  my  wife, 

for  many  years  from  our  marriage,  by  her  turbulent  behavior,  for 
she  was  not  content  to  despise  my  admonitions,  but  she  contrived 
every  method  to  make  me  unhappy;  she  was  so  perverse  in  her 
nature  that  she  would  not  be  reclaimed,  but  seemed  only  to  be 
born  to  be  a  plague  to  me ;  the  strength  of  Samson,  the  knowledge 
of  Homer,  the  prudence  of  Augustus,  the  cunning  of  Pyrrhus,  the 
patience  of  Job,  the  subtlety  of  Hannibal  and  the  watchfulness  of 
Hermogenes  could  not  have  been  suflScient  to  subdue  her;  for  no 
skill  or  force  in  the  world  would  make  her  good ;  and  as  we  have 
lived  separate  and  apart  from  each  other  for  eight  years,  and,  she 
having  perverted  her  son  to  leave  and  totally  abandon  me,  there- 
fore, I  give  her  a  shilling." 

Must  remain  at  Home 

The  last  will  and  testament  of  Lawrence  Engler  was  admitted 
to  probate  September  19,  1910,  at  Columbus,  Ohio.  It  disposes 
of  an  estate  valued  at  $10,000.  He  was  killed  in  a  recent  wreck 
on  the  Hocking  Valley  Railroad  near  Toledo. 

He  provides  in  his  will  that  his  widow  and  their  children  be  given 
the  proceeds  resulting  from  the  rent  of  his  property  and  that  they 
all  must  remain  at  home.  When  they  leave,  they  forfeit  all  rights 
to  the  income. 

So  long  as  they  live  together  they  are  to  share  the  income,  but 
when  one  leaves  he  loses  his  interest. 

This  arrangement  is  to  remain  during  the  life  of  all,  but  no  pro- 
vision is  made  for  the  disposal  of  the  remainder. 

The  will  is  peculiar  in  another  way.  The  testator,  after  its 
execution,  took  the  liberty  of  striking  out  some  of  the  provisions 


ANCIENT,   CURIOUS,  AND  FAMOUS  WILLS        85 

without  having  the  amendments  witnessed.     He  failed  to  make  a 
codicil,  but  does  say  that  he  did  the  scratching  himself. 


Danger  in  Mutual  Wills 

The  wills  of  Mrs.  Mary  Louise  Woeltge  and  Professor  Albert 
Woeltge  were  filed  in  the  Probate  Court  at  Stamford,  Connecticut, 
on  September  20,  1910,  and  they  reveal  a  somewhat  unusual  situa- 
tion. Professor  Woeltge  was  the  first  to  pass  away  at  Walpole, 
New  Hampshire,  on  September  12th,  His  wife  died  there  a  day 
later.  Both  left  wills  executed  April  11,  1895.  Professor  Woeltge 
left  all  his  estate  to  his  wife  and  appointed  her  sole  executrix. 
Mrs.  Woeltge  by  her  will  left  all  her  property  to  her  husband. 

Professor  Woeltge  inserted  a  clause  by  way  of  explanation  to  his 
nephew,  Albert  A.  Woeltge,  and  his  niece,  Lillie  Woeltge,  both  of 
New  York,  of  this  disposition  of  the  estate.  It  was,  in  effect,  that 
the  money  by  which  he  acquired  the  property  disposed  of  in  the 
will  came  most,  if  not  all  of  it,  from  his  wife  or  her  mother. 

Professor  Woeltge  left  two  letters,  one  addressed  to  his  wife 
and  the  other  to  his  niece  and  nephew.  The  letter  to  his  wife 
carried  a  direct  expression  of  desire  that  on  her  death  all  the 
money  he  left  her  go  to  the  children  of  his  brother  William, 
"that  they  might  know  that  I  loved  them  best  after  you."  The 
question  arises  as  to  who  will  get  the  property. 

The  Worst  of  Women 

Henry,  Earl  of  Stafford,  who  followed  the  fortunes  of  his  royal 
master  James  II.,  and  attended  him  in  his  exile  to  France,  married 
there  the  daughter  of  the  Due  de  Grammont,  at  the  end  of  the 
seventeenth  century.  The  marriage  was  a  most  unhappy  one,  and, 
after  fourteen  years'  endurance  of  the  disgraceful  conduct  of  his 
wife,  he  wrote  as  follows  in  his  will : 

"To  the  worst  of  women,  Claude  Charlotte  de  Grammont, 
unfortunately  my  wife,  guilty  as  she  is  of  ail  crimes,  I  leave  five- 
and-forty  brass  halfpence,  which  will  buy  a  pullet  for  her  supper. 
A  better  gift  than  her  father  can  make  her ;  for  I  have  known  when, 
having  not  the  money,  neither  had  he  the  credit  for  such  a  pur- 
chase ;  he  being  the  worst  of  men,  and  his  wife  the  worst  of  women, 
in  all  debaucheries.  Had  I  known  their  characters  I  had  never 
married  their  daughter,  and  made  myself  unhappy." 


86        ANCIENT,   CURIOUS,  AND  FAMOUS  WILLS 

Took  the  Son's  Part 

Sir  Robert  Bevill,  Knight,  who  held  an  official  position  at  court 
under  James  I.,  was  the  representative  of  an  old  Hunts  family, 
and  held  by  entail  the  estates  of  Chesterton  in  that  county.  Dying 
in  1635,  his  will,  which  it  appears  was  made  within  a  very  short 
time  of  his  death,  was  proved,  and  in  it  occur  the  following  clauses 
relative  to  his  wife  and  his  daughter's  husband,  with  whom  he 
died  at  enmity.  These  vindictive  behests,  be  it  observed,  are  pre- 
ceded by  a  very  devout  and  godly  preface,  bequeathing  his  soul 
"into  the  hands  of  its  Maker,  stedfastly  believing  in,  and  by  the 
merits  of,  our  Lord  and  Saviour  Jesus  Christ,  to  obteyne  free  par- 
don and  forgiveness  of  al  my  sinnes,  and  at  the  last  day  to  have  and 
receive  a  glorious  resurrection." 

Immediately  follows:  "I  give  and  bequeath  to  my  son-in-law. 
Sir  John  Hewell,  Baronet,  tenn  shillings  and  noe  more,  in  respect 
he  stroke  and  ceaselessly  fought  with  mee. 

"Item:  I  give  unto  my  wyfe  tenn  shillings  in  respect  she  took 
her  sonnes  part  against  me,  and  did  anymate  and  comfort  him 
afterwards.  These  will  not  be  forgotten."  Furthermore,  the  tes- 
tator, in  resentment  against  his  said  wife  —  "inasmuch  as  she  hath 
not  only  deserted  mee,  but  hath  taken  into  her  own  possession  all 
her  own  goods,  and  hath  disposed  of  them  at  her  own  pleasure  " 
—  declares  his  determination  "to  make  no  ampler  provision  for 
her." 

He  concludes  this  vindictive  will  by  leaving  all  his  large  estates 
to  his  second  son. 

This  will  is  not  exactly  of  the  class  alluded  to  by  Steele  in  one 
of  his  plays,  where  he  makes  one  of  the  characters,  a  widow,  remark, 
"There  is  no  will  of  an  husband  so  cheerfully  obeyed  as  his  last." 

Accused  of  every  Crime 

John  Parker,  a  bookseller,  living  in  Old  Bond  Street,  served  his 
wife  in  the  following  manner,  leaving  her  no  more  than  fifty  pounds, 
and  in  the  following  words : 

"To  one  Elizabeth  Parker,  whom  through  fondness  I  made  my 
wife,  without  regard  to  family,  fame,  or  fortune,  and  who  in  return 
has  not  spared  most  unjustly  to  accuse  me  of  every  crime  regarding 
human  nature,  except  highway  robbery,  I  bequeath  the  sum  of 
fifty  pounds." 


ANCIENT,   CURIOUS,  AND  FAMOUS  WILLS        87 

Between  the  Lines 

A  rich  man,  making  his  will,  left  legacies  to  all  his  servants  ex- 
cept his  steward,  to  whom  he  gave  nothing,  on  the  plea  that,  "hav- 
ing been  in  my  service  in  that  capacity  twenty  years  I  have  too  high 
an  opinion  of  his  shrewdness  to  suppose  he  has  not  sufficiently  en- 
riched himself." 

Menial  Service  Required 

A  year  or  two  ago,  a  Russian  gentleman,  living  at  Odessa,  be- 
queathed four  million  roubles  to  his  four  nieces,  but  they  were  to 
receive  the  money  only  after  having  worked  for  a  year  as  washer- 
women, chambermaids  or  farm  servants.  These  conditions  were 
carried  out,  and  while  occupying  such  humble  positions,  it  is  gratify- 
ing to  learn  that  they  received  over  eight  hundred  and  sixty  ofiFers 
of  marriage. 

No  Mustaches 

The  will  of  Mr.  Henry  Budd,  which  came  into  force  in  1862, 
declared  against  the  wearing  of  mustaches  by  his  sons,  in  the  follow- 
ing terms:  "In  case  my  son  Edward  shall  wear  mustaches,  then 
the  devise  hereinbefore  contained  in  favour  of  him,  his  appointees, 
heirs,  and  assigns  of  my  said  estate  called  Pepper  Park,  shall  be 
void ;  and  I  devise  the  same  estate  to  my  son  William,  his  ap- 
pointees, heirs,  and  assigns.  And  in  case  my  said  son  William  shall 
wear  mustaches,  then  the  devise  hereinbefore  contained  in  favour  of 
him,  his  appointees,  heirs,  and  assigns  of  my  said  estate  called 
Twickenham  Park,  shall  be  void ;  and  I  devise  the  said  estate  to  my 
said  son  Edward,  his  appointees,  heirs,  and  assigns." 

Will  of  William  Pym 

The  will  of  William  Pym,  of  Woolavington,  Somerset,  gent.,  is 
worth  citing  for  its  originaHty.     It  bears  date  January  10,  1608. 

After  various  charitable  bequests,  the  last  of  which  specifies  the 
sum  of  twelvepence  to  the  church  at  Wells,  he  proceeds  : 

"I  give  to  Agnes,  which  I  did  a  long  time  take  for  my  wyfe  — 
till  shee  denyd  me  to  be  her  husband,  all  though  wee  were  marryd 
with  my  friends'  consent,  her  father,  mother,  and  uncle  at  it ;  and 
now  she  swareth  she  will  neither  love  mee  nor  evyr  bee  perswaded 
to,  by  preechers,  nor  by  any  other,  which  hath  happened  within 


88        ANCIENT,   CURIOUS,  AND  FAMOUS  WILLS 

these  few  yeres.  And  Toby  Andrewes,  the  beginner,  which  I  did 
see  with  mine  own  eyes  when  hee  did  more  than  was  fitting,  and 
this  by  means  of  others  their  abettors.  I  have  hved  a  miserable 
life  this  six  or  seven  yeres,  and  now  I  leve  the  revenge  to  God  — 
and  tenn  pounds  to  buy  her  a  gret  horse,  for  I  could  not  this  manny 
yeres  plese  her  with  one  gret  enough." 

Two  years  after  writing  this  bitter  record  of  his  wrongs,  WiUiam 
Pym,  gent.,  gave  up  the  ghost,  and  his  last  wishes  were  faithfully 
carried  out  by  his  two  executors. 

Contrary  to  Roosevelt's  Idea 

The  malevolence  of  some  men  is  manifested  in  their  deaths,  as 
well  as  in  their  lives.  A  certain  wealthy  man  left  this  provision 
in  his  will:  "Should  my  daughter  marry  and  be  afflicted  with 
children,  the  trustees  are  to  pay  out  of  said  legacy,  Ten  Thousand 

Dollars   on   the  birth   of    the   first   child,   to    the Hospital ; 

Twenty  Thousand  Dollars,  on  the  second ;  Thirty  Thousand  Dol- 
lars, on  the  third ;  and  an  additional  Ten  Thousand  Dollars  on  the 
birth  of  each  fresh  child,  till  the  One  Hundred  and  Fifty  Thousand 
Dollars  is  exhausted.  Should  any  portion  of  this  sum  be  left  at  the 
end  of  twenty  years,  the  balance  is  to  be  paid  to  her  to  use  as  she 
thinks  fit."  This  item  would,  no  doubt,  interest  our  late  President, 
Theodore  Roosevelt. 

Wife's  Desertion  Rewarded 

A  certain  Glasgow  doctor  died  some  ten  years  ago,  and  left  his 
whole  estate  to  his  sisters.  In  his  will  appeared  this  unusual 
clause:  "To  my  wife,  as  a  recompense  for  deserting  me  and 
leaving  me  in  peace,  I  expect  the  said  sister,  Elizabeth,  to  make  her 
a  gift  of  ten  shillings  sterling,  to  buy  her  a  pocket  handkerchief  to 
weep  after  my  decease." 

Would  not  wear  the  Cap 

A  husband  left  his  wife  sixty  thousand  dollars,  to  be  increased 
to  one  hundred  and  twenty  thousand  dollars,  provided  she  wore 
a  widow's  cap  after  his  death.  She  accepted  the  larger  amount, 
wore  the  cap  for  six  months,  and  then  put  it  off.  A  lawsuit  fol- 
lowed, but  the  judge  gave  the  widow  a  judgment  and  stated  that 
the  word   "always"   should  have  been  inserted.     Shortly  after 


ANCIENT,   CURIOUS,  AND  FAMOUS  WILLS        89 

the  rendition  of  the  judgment,  the  widow  entered  into  the  state 
of  matrimony. 

Strange  Requirement  as  to  M.^riage 

In  1805,  Mr.  Edward  Hurst  left  a  very  large  fortune  to  his  only 
son  on  condition  that  the  latter  should  seek  out  and  marry  a  young 
lady,  whom  the  father,  according  to  his  own  statement,  had,  by 
acts  for  which  he  prayed  forgiveness,  reduced  to  the  extremity  of 
poverty ;  or  failing  her,  her  nearest  unmarried  female  heir.  The 
latter,  by  the  irony  of  fate,  turned  out  to  be  a  spinster  of  fifty-five, 
who,  professing  herself  willing  to  carry  out  her  share  of  the  imposed 
duty,  was  duly  united  to  the  young  man,  who  had  just  reached  his 
majority. 

A  Happy  Wife 

Many  wills  have  reference  to  the  domestic  felicity,  or  otherwise, 
experienced  by  those  who  executed  them.  As  an  example  of  the 
former,  we  may  give  the  following  passage  from  the  testament  of 
Lady  Palmerston,  an  ancestress  of  the  celebrated  Premier.  Refer- 
ring to  her  husband,  she  says,  "As  I  have  long  given  you  my  heart 
and  tenderest  affections  and  fondest  wishes  have  always  been 
yours,  so  is  everything  else  that  I  possess ;  and  all  that  I  can  call 
mine  being  already  yours,  I  have  nothing  to  give  but  my  heartiest 
thanks  for  the  care  and  kindness  you  have  at  all  times  shown  me, 
either  in  sickness  or  in  health,  for  which  God  Almighty  will,  I  hope, 
reward  you  in  a  better  world."  Then,  for  "form's  sake,"  follow 
several  specific  bequests. 

Must  walk  Barefooted 

A  wife  who  domineers  over  her  husband  sometimes  discovers  that 
she  has  made  a  serious  mistake.  Ten  years  ago  the  London  (Eng- 
land) newspapers  reported  that  a  pubhcan  (housekeeper)  took  a  curi- 
ous revenge  on  a  nagging  wife,  whose  sharp  tongue  had  given  him 
many  bad  days  while  he  hved.  When  his  will  was  read,  she  learned 
that  in  order  to  receive  any  property  she  must  walk  barefooted  to  the 
market-place  each  time  the  anniversary  of  his  death  came  around. 
Holding  a  candle  in  her  hand,  she  was  there  to  read  a  paper  confess- 
ing her  unseemly  behavior  to  her  husband  while  he  lived,  and  stat- 
ing that  had  her  tongue  been  shorter,  her  husband's  days  would 
probably  have  been  longer.     By  refusing  to  comply  with   these 


90        ANCIENT,   CURIOUS,  AND  FAMOUS  WILLS 

terms  she  had  to  be  satisfied  with  "twenty  pounds  a  year  to  keep 
her  off  the  parish." 

Anticipating  the  Past 

It  was  Mrs.  Malaprop  in  Sheridan's  dehghtful  comedy,  "The 
Rivals,"  who  decUned  to  "anticipate  the  past." 

Mr.  John  B.  Luther,  whose  will  is  given  below,  certainly  had  the 
past  in  mind  when  the  instrument  was  drawn ;  it  seems  clear  that 
he  desired  to  "anticipate  the  past"  in  so  far  as  a  provision  for  for- 
gotten widows  and  children  was  concerned.  The  testator  formerly 
lived  in  Fall  River,  Massachusetts,  but  his  will  was  probated  in 
San  Francisco ;  he  left  an  estate  valued  at  more  than  $100,000. 

"I  do  hereby  declare  that  I  am  not  married  and  that  I  have  no 
children.  I  have  noticed,  however,  the  facility  with  which  sworn 
testimony  can  be  procured  and  produced  in  support  of  the  claims  of 
alleged  widows  and  adopted  children,  and  the  frequent  recurrence 
of  such  claims  in  recent  years.  I  therefore  make  express  provision 
in  this  my  last  will  as  follows  :  I  give  and  bequeath  to  such  person 
as  shall  be  found,  proved,  and  established  to  be  my  surviving  wife  or 
widow,  whether  the  marriage  be  found  to  have  taken  place  before 
or  after  the  execution  of  this  will,  the  sum  of  $5,  and  to  each  and 
every  person  who  shall  be  found,  proved,  and  established  to  be  my 
child  by  birth,  adoption,  acknowledgment,  or  otherwise,  and  whether 
before  or  after  the  execution  of  this  will,  the  sum  of  $5,  and  I 
declare  that  I  do  intentionally  omit  to  make  for  any  of  the  persons 
in  this  paragraph  referred  to  any  other  or  further  provision," 


ANIMALS 

"Kind  hearts  are  more  than  coronets. 
And  simple  faith  than  Norman  blood." 

Lower  Animals  have  Souls 

The  Peoples  Pulpit,  a  publication  issued  by  the  "Brooklyn 
Tabernacle,"  in  a  recent  issue  under  the  title,  "What  is  a  Soul  ^  " 
says : 

"  Thus  we  see  why  it  is  that  the  Scriptures  speak  of 
'souls'  in  connection  with  the  lower  animals.  They,  as  well 
as  man,  are  sentient  beings  or  creatures  of  intelligence,  only 
of  lower  orders.  They,  as  well  as  man,  can  see,  hear,  feel, 
taste  and  smell;    and  each  can  reason  up  to  the  standard  of 


ANCIENT,   CURIOUS,  AND  FAMOUS  WILLS        91 

his  own  organism,  though  none  can  reason  as  abstrusely  nor  on  as 
high  a  plane  as  man.  This  difference  is  not  because  man  has  a 
different  kind  of  life  from  that  possessed  by  the  lower  animals ;  for 
all  have  similar  vital  forces,  from  the  same  fountain  or  source  of 
life,  the  same  Creator ;  all  sustain  life  in  the  same  manner,  by  the 
digestion  of  similar  foods,  producing  blood,  and  muscles,  and  bones, 
etc.,  each  according  to  his  kind  or  nature ;  and  each  propagates  his 
species  similarly,  bestowing  the  life,  originally  from  God,  upon  his 
posterity.     They  differ  in  shape  and  in  mental  capacity. 

"  Nor  can  it  be  said  that  while  man  is  a  soul  (or  intelligent  being) 
beasts  are  without  this  soul-quality  or  intelligence,  thought,  feeling. 
On  the  contrary,  both  man  and  beast  have  soul-quality  or  Intelligent, 
conscious  being.  Not  only  is  this  the  statement  of  Scripture,  but  it 
is  readily  discernible  as  a  fact,  as  soon  as  the  real  meaning  of  the  word 
'  soul '  is  comprehended,  as  shown  in  the  foregoing.  To  illustrate  : 
Suppose  the  creation  of  a  perfect  dog ;  and  suppose  that  creation 
had  been  particularly  described,  as  was  Adam's,  what  difference  of 
detail  could  be  imagined  ?  The  body  of  a  dog  created  would  not  be 
a  dog  until  the  breath  of  life  would  be  caused  to  energize  that  body ; 
then  it  would  be  a  living  creature  with  sensibilities  and  powers 
all  its  own  —  a  living  soul  of  the  lower  order,  called  dog,  as  Adam, 
when  he  received  life,  became  a  living  creature  with  sensibiUties 
and  powers  all  his  own  —  a  living  soul  of  the  highest  order  of 
flesh  beings,  called  man." 

A  Heaven  for  Beasts 

Bishop  Butler  and  Theodore  Parker  offered  the  suggestion  that 
there  is  a  future  for  beasts,  and  a  poem  has  been  dedicated  "To  my 
Pony  in  Heaven,"  by  Mr.  Sewell  of  Exeter  College. 

Goldfish  and  Flowers 

A  certain  lady  left  seventy  pounds  a  year  for  the  maintenance  of 
three  goldfish,  which  were  to  be  identified  as  follows:  "one  is 
bigger  than  the  other  two,  and  these  latter  are  to  be  easily  recog- 
nized, as  one  is  fat  and  the  other  lean."  She  also  made  provision 
for  flowers  to  be  placed  upon  the  graves  of  the  gold  fish. 

Bequest  to  a  Fish 

We  have  heard  of  lucky  dogs  often  enough  —  instances  of  lucky 
fish  are  more  rare,  yet  we  can  tell  of  two  carps  who  have  been  testa- 


92        ANCIENT,   CURIOUS,  AND  FAMOUS  WILLS 

mentarily  benefited.  One  is,  or  rather  was,  too  well  known  to  the 
tourist  who  has  seen  Fontainebleau,  to  need  more  than  a  passing 
mention,  as  he  only  paid  the  debt  of  nature  a  few  years  ago,  hav- 
ing occupied  the  royal  pond,  it  is  said,  more  than  a  century,  prob- 
ably in  order  to  bear  out  the  proverb  which  gives  long  lives  to  annu- 
itants ;  the  other  was  the  mute  but  valued  friend  of  the  Count  of 
Mirandola,  who  had  been  in  his  intimacy  since  1805,  dwelling  in  an 
elegant  antique  piscina,  shaded  by  tropical  plants,  in  an  oriel  of  his 
salon  at  Lucca,  where  he  was  still  living  as  late  as  1835,  and  may  be 
there  still.  The  count,  dying  in  1825,  left  him  a  handsome  annuity, 
with  special  directions  for  his  treatment. 

Bequest  to  a  Parrot 

A  rich  and  eccentric  widow,  whose  will  was  proved  In  London 
some  years  ago,  left  at  her  death  a  parrot,  whom,  "having  been  her 
faithful  companion  for  24  years,"  she  left  in  charge  of  an  appointee, 
with  an  annuity  of  one  hundred  guineas,  the  existence  and  identity 
of  the  bird  to  be  proved  twice  a  year,  and  all  payments  to  be 
withheld  from  the  moment  the  feathered  pensioner  ceased  to  be 
produced. 

Polly  wants  a  Contest 

In  July  last,  at  Washington,  D.C.,  a  will  contest  was  commenced, 
which  involves  the  fife  or  death  of  a  parrot. 

It  appears  Mrs.  OttiUe  Stock  left  a  will,  by  the  terms  of  which 
her  parrot  was  doomed  to  Oslerization  by  the  process  of  chloroform. 
Her  daughter,  Elizabeth  Stock,  questioned  the  vahdity  of  the  will. 
It  seems  that  Elizabeth  was  left  one  dollar  in  money,  two  kitchen 
chairs,  two  pails  and  one  broom ;  hence,  the  will  contest. 

Mrs.  Stock,  the  testatrix,  was  the  mother  of  one  of  the  men  who 
went  to  his  death  on  the  ill-fated  battleship  Maine,  in  the  harbor 
of  Havana. 

What  behavior  induced  the  death  sentence  on  Polly,  is  not 
known. 

Will  of  Mrs.  Elizabeth  Hunter 

This  lady,  a  resident  of  London,  having  for  many  years  enjoyed 
the  society  of  a  pet  parrot,  and  being  anxious  as  to  the  fate  of  her 
favorite  after  her  death,  bequeathed  an  annuity  of  £200,  to  be 
paid  quarterly,  so  long  as  the  parrot  should  live  and  its  identity  be 
satisfactorily  proved.  This  annuity  of  £50  quarterly  was  left  in 
the  first  instance  to  Mrs.  Mary  Dyer,  of  Park  Street,  Westminster, 


ANCIENT,   CURIOUS,  AND  FAMOUS  WILLS        93 

with  a  proviso  that  should  that  trustee  die  before  the  parrot,  the 
sum  should  continue  to  be  paid  to  some  "respectable  female  who 
should  not  be  a  servant."  One  would  think  the  testatrix  must 
have  had  in  her  mind  the  story  of  Gay's  cat  —  "Nor  cruel  Tom  nor 
Susan  heard  ! "  Moreover,  it  was  to  dwell  in  a  cage  that  was  to 
cost  not  less  than  £20,  and  which  was  to  be  "high,  long,  large  and 
roomy";  the  bird  also  was  "not  to  be  taken  out  of  England." 
This  will  was  probated  in  1813. 

A  Caged  Annuitant 

An  elderly  spinster,  by  name  CaroHne  Hunter,  wishing  to  pro- 
vide for  a  favorite  parrot,  bequeathed  the  bird  with  a  legacy  of 
one  thousand  pounds  to  a  widow,  a  friend  of  hers,  giving  her  power 
to  transfer  both  the  pet  and  the  money  to  any  third  person,  pro- 
vided it  were  to  one  of  the  female  sex,  who  would  undertake  not 
to  leave  England.  There  was  a  special  bequest  of  twenty  guineas 
to  provide  a  very  high  and  handsome  cage,  into  which  the  parrot 
was  to  be  removed,  and  the  executors  were  charged,  in  the  event  of 
the  charge  and  bequest  being  refused  by  the  widow,  to  see  that  the 
parrot  was  committed  to  the  care  of  some  trustworthy,  respectable 
person.  The  will  concludes  :  "I  will  and  desire  that  whoever  at- 
tempts to  dispute  this  my  last  will  and  testament,  or  by  any  means 
tries  to  frustrate  these  my  intentions,  shall  forfeit  whatever  I  have 
left  him,  her,  or  them.  And  if  any  one  to  whom  I  have  left  legacies 
attempt  to  bring  any  bill  or  charge  against  me,  it  is  my  will  and 
desire  they  shall  forfeit  whatever  legacy  I  may  have  left  them.  I 
owe  nothing  to  any  one  —  many  owe  me  gratitude  and  money,  but 
none  have  paid  me  either." 

Horses  to  be  Shot 

Frederick  Christian  Winslow  was  born  in  1752 ;  he  was  Council- 
lor of  State,  professor  of  surgery,  and  knight  of  the  order  of  Dane- 
brog.  His  works  on  surgery  have  been  translated  into  almost  all 
the  languages  of  Europe.  He  was  grand-nephew  of  the  celebrated 
anatomist,  James  Benignus  Winslow.  He  died  at  Copenhagen, 
June  24,  1811. 

His  will  disposes  of  property  amounting  to  37,000  crowns,  but 
contains  only  one  clause  which  can  be  considered  singular,  viz. : 
that  which  orders  that  his  carriage-horses  should  be  shot,  lest 
after  his  death  they  come  to  be  ill-treated  by  any  person  who  might 
buy  them. 


94        ANCIENT,   CURIOUS,  AND  FAMOUS   WILLS 

Will  in  Favor  of  a  Horse 

Among  the  archives  of  Toulouse  exists  the  registry  of  a  singular 
will,  made  by  a  countryman  of  the  immediate  environs  in  1781. 
This  peasant,  who  was  the  owner  of  a  considerable  sum  of  money, 
besides  his  house  and  the  land  surrounding  it,  had  no  children,  but 
had  attached  himself  to  a  horse  he  always  rode,  though  it  does  not 
seem  to  have  been  particularly  comely  in  appearance.  His  affec- 
tion for  this  animal  was  very  constant ;  for,  finding  himself  seri- 
ously ill,  and  having  decided  on  making  his  will,  he  disposed  of 
all  his  property  in  favor  of  the  four-footed  favorite  in  these  terms  : 
"I  declare  that  I  appoint  my  russet  cob  my  universal  heir,  and  I 
desire  that  he  may  belong  to  my  nephew  George." 

As  may  be  supposed,  the  will  was  contested ;  but,  strange  to  say, 
it  was  ultimately  confirmed.  An  experienced  jurisconsult,  by 
name  Claude  Serres,  professor  of  "droit  civil"  at  Montpellier,  has 
cited  the  case,  and  gives  the  reason  for  the  decision  arrived  at, 
viz. :  "That  the  will  being  pronounced  valid,  the  succession  of  the 
testator  was  adjudicated  to  the  nephew  whom  he  had  designated 
as  proprietor  of  the  horse,  because  it  was  ruled  that  the  simplicity 
of  the  rustic  should  secure  to  him  the  execution  of  his  last  will, 
and  that,  having  named  his  nephew  as  legatee  of  the  horse,  he 
intended  he  should  have  it  endowed  with  the  bequests  he  had 
bestowed  upon  it." 

Horses  as  Legatees 

A  curious  will  contest  was  instituted  in  January,  1911,  in  the 
Hungarian  courts.  This  contest  turns  upon  the  legality  of  the  will 
of  an  eccentric  nobleman,  Emile  von  Bizony,  brother  of  a  well- 
known  deputy,  who  left  all  his  real  and  personal  property,  amount- 
ing to  about  $200,000,  to  be  used  in  behalf  of  his  twelve  draught 
horses. 

As  executor  of  his  will,  he  named  the  Society  for  the  Protection 
of  Animals  at  Budapest,  stipulating  that  the  interest  on  his  estate 
should  be  devoted  to  the  care  of  his  twelve  draught  horses,  and 
that  upon  the  death  of  one  of  them  another  aged  horse  was  to  be 
taken  in  and  cared  for,  so  that  the  number  of  twelve  might  always 
be  maintained. 

Herr  von  Bizony  was  sixty-five  years  of  age,  a  confirmed  misogy- 
nist, and  at  odds  with  all  his  relatives,  who  were  naturally  amazed 
at  the  contents  of  the  will.  His  brother,  the  Deputy,  Herr  Alusins 
von  Bizony,  disputed  the  will.     Negotiations  were  made  with  the 


ANCIENT,   CURIOUS,  AND  FAMOUS  WILLS        95 

above-mentioned  society,  and  $20,000  was  offered  it,  but  refused, 
the  society  bringing  an  action  against  the  Bizony  family  for  the 
retention  of  the  property. 

Two  Thousand  Dollars  for  a  Horse 

An  Irishman,  James  Gilwee,  died  in  1907  in  Carondelet,  a  sub- 
division of  the  city  of  Saint  Louis  :  by  his  will,  filed  in  the  Probate 
Court  of  the  city  of  Saint  Louis,  he  left  two  thousand  dollars  in 
trust,  the  revenue  from  which  was  to  be  used  in  the  support  and 
comfort  of  a  favorite  horse,  "Tony"  :  the  children  of  the  deceased 
carefully  respected  the  wishes  of  their  father,  and  the  horse  was 
shipped  to  Bloomington,  Illinois,  where  corn  is  plentiful  and 
meadow  grass  is  blue,  and  the  horse  received  every  attention  until 
his  death,  which  occurred  quite  recently.  The  two  thousand 
dollars  was  thereupon  divided  between  the  heirs. 

Domestic  Pets 

Mrs.  Elizabeth  Balls,  late  of  Park  Lodge,  Streatham,  England, 
whose  will  was  proved  on  the  5th  of  November,  1875,  bequeathed 
to  the  Cancer  Hospital,  £2,000  Consols ;  to  the  Institution  for 
the  Deaf  and  Dumb,  Old  Kent  Road,  £1000  Consols ;  to  the  Blind 
Schools,  Southwark,  a  like  sum ;  to  the  Idiots'  Asylum,  Earlswood, 
£500  Consols ;  and  to  Guy's  and  St.  Thomas's  hospitals,  the  like 
sum  each.  She  directed  that  her  late  husband's  cob  mare  and 
greyhound  should  not  be  sold,  but  that  the  former  should  be  kept 
in  a  comfortable,  warm,  loose  box,  as  she  had  been  kept  since  her 
late  master's  death ;  that  she  should  not  be  put  to  work  either  in 
or  out  of  harness,  and  that  her  back  should  not  be  crossed  by  any 
member  of  her  late  husband's  family,  but  that  she  should  be  ridden 
by  a  person  of  light  weight,  not  above  four  days  a  week,  and  not 
more  than  one  hour  each  day,  at  a  walking  pace.  For  the  support 
of  this  mare  Mrs.  Balls  left  £65  per  annum,  and  for  the  keep  and 
care  of  the  greyhound  £5  per  annum. 

Bank  Stock  for  a  Dog 

The  late  Mrs.T.  P.  Roe,  of  Canada,  bequeathed  to  her  little  dog. 
Frolic,  the  interest  on  four  shares  of  Montreal  Bank  stock  for  use 
during  his  lifetime,  and  at  his  death  the  same  was  to  be  sold  and 
given  to  the  Church  of  St.  John  the  Evangelist. 


96        ANCIENT,   CURIOUS,   AND  FAMOUS  WILLS 

Dog  painted  by  Landseeb 

For  his  faithful  companion  Pincher,  Lord  Eldon  in  1838  made  a 
testamentary  provision,  bequeathing  him  to  Lady  Frances  Bankes, 
with  an  annuity  of  eight  pounds  during  the  term  of  his  natural 
life,  for  his  maintenance. 

"His  attachment  to  this  animal,"  says  Lord  Campbell,  "was 
very  affecting.  He  used  to  say  while  he  caressed  him :  '  Poor 
Pincher  belonged  to  poor  William  Henry,  and  after  I  took  the 
Sacrament  with  him  when  he  was  dying,  he  called  me  back  as  I  was 
leaving  the  room  and  said:  "Father,  you  will  take  care  of  poor 
Pincher." 

"'The  dog  was  brought  home  to  me  when  all  was  over,  and  in 
a  short  time  he  was  missed ;  he  was  immediately  sought  for,  and 
it  was  found  he  had  gone  back  and  was  lying  on  the  bed  beside  his 
dead  master.'  He  had  another  story  about  this  dog  which  was 
decoyed  away  by  a  dog-stealer,  and  recovered  by  the  Ex-Chancellor 
compounding  felony  with  the  thief.  On  receiving  a  letter  signed, 
'An  Amateur  Dog-fancier,'  a  negotiation  was  opened  which  led 
to  Lord  Eldon  sending  a  servant  with  a  five-pound  note  to  a  house 
in  Cow  Cross  Street,  where  Pincher  was  found.  The  man  being 
dealt  with  'on  honour,'  freely  disclosed  the  secrets  of  his  trade,  and 
in  answer  to  a  gentle  reproach,  replied :  '  Why,  what  can  we  do  ? 
Now  that  Parliament  has  stopped  our  trade  in  procuring  bodies 
for  the  surgeons,  we  are  obliged  to  turn  to  this  to  get  an  honest 
livelihood.' 

"Pincher  is  introduced  into  several  portraits  of  his  master,  who 
said  :  '  Poor  fellow  !  he  has  a  right  to  be  painted  with  me,  for  when 
my  man  Smith  took  him  the  other  day  to  a  law  bookseller's,  where 
there  happened  to  be  several  lawyers,  they  all  received  him  with 
great  respect,  and  the  master  of  the  shop  exclaimed :  "How  very 
like  he  is  to  old  Eldon,  particularly  when  he  wore  a  wig  !  —  but, 
indeed,  many  people  say  he  is  the  handsomer  chap  of  the  two.'  " 

"After  Lord  Eldon's  death,  Pincher  was  painted  by  that  con- 
summate judge  of  the  canine  race.  Sir  Edwin  Landseer,  who  re- 
marked of  him  :  '  He  is  a  very  picturesque  old  dog,  with  a  wonderful 
look  of  cleverness  in  his  face.'  He  has  represented  him  listening 
to  the  ticking  of  a  watch  given  to  the  Chancellor  by  George  III." 


ANCIENT,   CURIOUS,  AND  FAMOUS  WELLS        97 

A  Dog's  Hospital 

An  old  lady  who  died  in  Paris  in  December,  1876,  left  a  singular 
legacy  to  the  city  of  Marseilles,  being  85,000  francs,  for  the  purpose 
of  founding  within  its  precincts  an  hospital —  "pour  les  chiens  et 
les  chevaux  malheureux."  INI.  Mertin,  a  notary  of  Paris,  it  was 
who  received  the  will  of  Madame  Veuve  Perren,  nee  Enouf,  and 
who  communicated  its  dispositions  to  M.  Maglione,  mayor  of 
Marseilles. 

Chloroform  and  Water  for  Animals 

There  is  on  file  in  the  city  of  Saint  Louis,  Missouri,  the  will  of 
Phoebe  Deliah  Nye,  which  contains,  among  others,  these  items : 

"Item:  I  direct  my  Executor,  immediately  upon  taking  charge 
of  my  estate,  to  end  the  life  of  my  faithful  dog,  Lily,  by  the  appli- 
cation of  chloroform,  it  being  my  desire  to  spare  her  from  ending 
her  days  without  that  care  which  she  would  receive  if  I  were  living. 

"Item :  I  direct  my  Trustee  to  establish,  erect  and  maintain  in 
various  parts  of  the  City  of  Saint  Louis,  Drinking  Fountains  and 
Places  where  both  man  and  beast  may  at  all  times,  both  day  and 
night,  have  fresh  water  to  drink ;  convenient  of  access  to  all  and 
free  from  any  expense  to  them. 

"  It  is  my  will  and  I  direct  that  each  and  every  one  of  such  drink- 
ing places  shall  be  so  arranged  that  dogs  and  cats  may  drink,  and 
that  they  may  be  permitted  to  do  so  freely ;  such  drinking  places 
are  to  be  selected  where  they  will  be  most  needed  and  be  most 
useful  and  in  as  many  different  places  as  possible,  and  particu- 
larly in  the  more  congested  and  more  frequented  portions  of  the 
city. 

"Item:  I  authorize  and  empower  my  Trustee  to  expend  one- 
half  of  the  Corpus  and  all  of  the  net  revenue  from  my  estate  in  the 
establishing,  erecting,  and  maintaining  of  the  drinking  places. 

"Item:  I  authorize  and  empower  my  Trustee  to  employ  such 
persons  as  in  its  judgment  may  be  necessary  to  maintain  and  look 
after  these  drinking  places  at  an  expense  not  to  exceed  one-fourth 
of  the  net  income  and  revenue  from  the  trust  estate ;  and  to  carry 
out  my  intent,  my  Trustee  is  authorized  to  purchase  or  to  lease 
sufficient  ground,  upon  which  to  establish  such  drinking  places, 
and  to  accept  donations  and  gifts  of  property,  real  and  personal, 
to  be  added  to  the  trust  fund  to  be  used  in  the  same  way  and  for 
the  same  purposes." 


98        ANCIENT,   CURIOUS,   AND  FAMOUS  WILLS     . 

Chronometers  and  Dogs 

Sir  James  South,  the  astronomer,  by  his  will,  which  was  proved 
in  1868,  gave  a  pocket-chronometer  each  to  the  Earl  of  Shaftes- 
bury, the  Earl  of  Rosse,  and  Mr.  A.  J.  Stephens,  the  condition  in 
each  case  being  that  the  chronometer  should  be  carried  in  the 
pantaloon  pocket  of  the  wearer,  according  to  the  habit  of  the 
testator.  Sir  James  South  also  left  £30  a  year  to  one  of  his  female 
servants  during  the  lifetime  of  a  favorite  terrier  named  "Tiger"  j 
and  this  animal  was  produced  in  the  Equity  Court  in  1872,  when 
a  question  arose  as  to  its  existence.  On  behalf  of  the  dog  or  its 
keeper,  it  was  asked  that  a  sum  of  £1000  Consols  should  be  set 
apart  to  meet  the  annuity,  but  the  Vice-Chancellor  held  that  the 
rules  of  the  court,  which  applied  to  human  beings,  did  not  extend 
to  dogs,  and  said  that  the  executor's  personal  undertaking  for  the 
rest  of  the  dog's  life  would  be  suflScient. 

A  Lover  of  the  Canine  Race 

In  the  Gazetta  del  Popolo  of  Turin,  of  September  2, 1874,  is  found 
the  following : 

"Last  week  was  opened  by  Zanini,  the  notary  public,  the  will 
of  a  certain  L.  C,  who,  after  having  made  a  considerable  fortune 
by  means  of  the  journal,  the  Caroccio,  disposed  of  it  in  the  following 
manner : 

"  '  I  leave  to  the  municipality  of  Casale  an  annuity  of  1500  lire 
from  the  public  debt,  to  be  employed  in  rescuing  all  the  dogs  that 
shall  fall  into  the  hands  of  the  civic  dog-seizer  (accalappiatore) . 

"  '  I  leave  to  my  dog  Schmid  a  rent  from  the  public  funds  of  500 
lire  annually,  to  revert  after  his  death  to  the  foundlings  of  the 
city.'  " 

Lucky  Dogs 

Many  valuable  bequests  have  been  made  to  dogs,  and  other 
domestic  pets.  Dr.  Christiano,  of  Venice,  left  sixty  thousand 
florins  for  the  maintenance  of  his  three  dogs,  with  a  condition  that, 
at  their  death,  the  sum  should  be  added  to  the  funds  of  the  Uni- 
versity of  Vienna. 

Sambo  and  Romp 

A  Mr.  Thomas  Edmett,  an  Englishman,  died  in  October,  1871, 
having  by  a  codicil  to  his  will,  made  in  1861,  bequeathed  as  fol- 
lows:   "I  bequeath  to  my  faithful  servant  Elizabeth  Osborne,  on 


ANCIENT,   CURIOUS,  AND  FAMOUS  WILLS        99 

condition  that  she  take  care  of  my  favorite  dog,  an  annuity  of 
£50  for  her  life,  to  be  paid  to  her  quarterly."  The  annuity  was 
given  to  her  for  her  separate  use,  with  a  restraint  on  anticipation. 
The  testator  had  at  the  time  of  making  his  will  a  favorite  dog 
named  Romp,  which  died  before  him.  He,  however,  subsequently 
had  another  favorite  dog  called  Sambo,  which  was  in  his  posses- 
sion at  the  time  of  his  death.  Elizabeth  Osborne  had  taken  care 
of  Sambo  as  well  as  Romp.  She  claimed  to  be  entitled  to  the 
annuity  of  £50  discharged  from  the  condition  of  taking  care  of 
the  dog. 

The  Vice-Chancellor  held  that  Elizabeth  Osborne  was  entitled 
to  the  annuity  of  £50  for  her  life.  He  hoped  she  would  take  care 
of  Sambo,  but  he  should  not  make  the  annuity  contingent  on  her 
doing  so. 

Dog  Saved  his  Life 

A  singular  will  was  that  of  Mr,  Berkeley,  an  Englishman  of 
fortune,  who  died  on  the  5th  May,  1805,  at  Knightsbridge.  By 
this  instrument  he  left  a  pension  of  twenty-five  pounds  to  four 
of  his  dogs,  having  a  particular  affection  for  animals.  Some 
one  having  observed  to  him  that  a  portion  of  the  sums  he  spent 
on  them  would  be  better  employed  in  relieving  his  fellow-men, 
he  replied,  "Men  have  attempted  my  life,  whereas  it  was  to  a  dog 
that  I  own  that  I  am  alive." 

And,  indeed,  it  appeared  that  during  a  journey  through  France 
and  Italy  this  gentleman,  being  attacked  by  brigands,  had  been 
protected  and  saved  by  his  dog;  the  four  animals  he  pensioned 
by  his  will  were  the  descendants  of  this  faithful  and  serviceable 
friend.  His  steward  was  charged  to  spend  the  whole  amount  on 
the  dogs  and  to  reserve  nothing  for  himself;  and  the  testator 
entered  into  the  most  minute  particulars  as  to  its  expenditure. 
Feeling  his  end  near,  Mr.  Berkeley  desired  that  two  arm  chairs 
might  be  brought  to  his  bedside,  and  his  four  dogs  seated  on  them, 
received  their  last  caresses,  which  he  returned  with  the  best  of  his 
failing  strength,  and  died  in  their  paws. 

By  an  article  in  his  will  he  ordered  that  the  busts  of  his  four  dogs, 
descendants  of  the  dog  who  saved  his  life,  should  be  carved  in. 
stone  and  placed  at  the  four  corners  of  his  tomb. 


100      ANCIENT,   CURIOUS,  AND  FAMOUS  WILLS 


A  Wealthy  Cat 

In  1892  a  Paris  lady  left  ten  thousand  francs  to  her  cat.  On  its 
death,  the  money  was  to  be  spent  on  elementary  schools.  Recently, 
the  death  of  the  cat  caused  the  money  to  divert  to  the  district 
governing  body  for  this  purpose. 

Cat,  named  in  Will,  Dead 

In  the  will  of  Mrs.  Sarah  Titus  Zabriskie,  filed  for  probate  at 
Newport  early  in  September,  1910,  provision  was  made  for 
"Whiskers,"  a  cat  that  had  been  Mrs.  Zabriskie's  pet  for  many 
years.  It  was  provided  that  if  Mrs.  Zabriskie's  daughter,  who 
was  chief  beneficiary,  died  before  "Whiskers"  passed  away,  the  cat 
was  to  be  put  to  death  painlessly  by  Dr.  Thomas  G.  Sherwood, 
a  veterinarian,  of  No.  107  West  Thirty-seventh  Street,  New  York. 

Dr.  Sherwood  was  not  called  upon,  however.  The  animal  was 
chloroformed  a  month  before  the  will  was  filed.  It  appears  "Whis- 
kers "  suffered  from  an  incurable  disease,  contracted  in  earlier 
and  happier  years,  and  predeceased  his  mistress. 

Cat  and  Dog  Money 

In  a  certain  county  in  England,  there  is  what  is  known  as  "cat 
and  dog  "  money  given  to  the  poor,  but  which,  in  the  first  instance, 
was  left  for  the  support  of  cats  and  dogs.  Then,  too,  there  are  the 
cow  and  bull  benefactions  in  several  English  parishes,  which  have 
been  left  to  provide  cattle  whose  milk  would  go  to  the  poor. 

A  Cat  Menu 

A  remarkable  will  was  that  of  a  famous  harpist  of  the  seventeenth 
century,  by  name  Madame  Dupuis.  So  eccentric  indeed  was  it 
considered  that  it  gave  occasion  to  a  cause  celebre,  and  has  been 
mentioned  by  various  contemporary  writers  —  among  others, 
by  Moncriff,  by  Mercier  St.  Leger  and  by  Bayle.  This  testatrix 
died  in  1677,  and,  if  a  rambling  style  of  writing  be  any  test  of  in- 
sanity, this  lady  ought  assuredly  to  have  been  placed  in  durance. 
The  document  abounds  in  violent  expressions  and  unchastened 
invective ;  while  the  singular  mode  of  applying  the  very  large 
property  she  has  at  her  disposal,  the  vindictive  retributions  she 
conjures,  and  the  exclamations  and  apostrophes  into  which  she 


ANCIENT,  CURIOUS,  AND  FAMOUS  Wilil^S      iOX 

bursts  at  intervals,  culminate  in  the  final  clause,  which  we  translate 
faithfully  as  follows : 

"Item:  I  desire  my  sister,  Marie  Bluteau,  and  my  niece, 
Madame  Calonge,  to  look  to  my  cats.  If  both  should  survive  me, 
thirty  sous  a  week  must  be  laid  out  upon  them,  in  order  that  they 
may  live  well. 

"They  are  to  be  served  daily,  in  a  clean  and  proper  manner, 
with  two  meals  of  meat-soup,  the  same  as  we  eat  ourselves,  but  it 
is  to  be  given  them  separately  in  two  soup-plates.  The  bread  is 
not  to  be  cut  up  into  the  soup,  but  must  be  broken  into  squares 
about  the  size  of  a  nut,  otherwise  they  will  refuse  to  eat  it.  A 
ration  of  meat,  finely  minced,  is  to  be  added  to  it;  the  whole  is 
then  to  be  mildly  seasoned,  put  into  a  clean  pan,  covered  close, 
and  carefidly  simmered  before  it  is  dished  up.  If  only  one  cat 
should  survive,  half  the  sum  mentioned  will  suffice. 

"Nicole-Pigeon  is  to  take  charge  of  my  two  cats,  and  to  be  very 
careful  of  them.  Madame  Calonge  is  to  visit  them  three  times 
a  week." 

A  Cats'  Home 

A  Mr.  Jonathan  Jackson,  of  Columbus,  Ohio,  died  some  thirty 
years  ago,  leaving  orders  to  his  executors  to  erect  a  cats'  home,  the 
plans  and  elevation  of  which  he  had  drawn  out  with  great  care  and 
thought.  The  building  was  to  contain  dormitories,  a  refectory, 
areas  for  conversation,  grounds  for  exercise,  and  gently  sloping 
roofs  for  climbing,  with  rat-holes  for  sport,  an  "auditorium  " 
within  which  the  inmates  were  to  be  assembled  daily  to  listen  to  an 
accordion,  which  was  to  be  played  for  an  hour  each  day  by  an 
attendant,  that  instrument  being  the  nearest  approach  to  their 
natural  voices.  An  infirmary,  to  which  were  to  be  attached  a 
surgeon  and  three  or  four  professed  nurses,  was  to  adjoin  the 
establishment. 

No  mention  seems  to  have  been  made  of  a  chapel  or  a  chaplain  ! 

The  testator  gives  as  his  reason  for  thus  disposing  of  his  prop- 
erty that  "  it  is  man's  duty  as  lord  of  animals  to  watch  over  and 
protect  the  lesser  and  feebler,  even  as  God  watches  over  and  pro- 
tects man." 

He  does  not,  however,  explain  how  it  happens  that  on  this  prin- 
ciple he  does  not  consider  it  his  duty  to  protect  rats  from  the  "  sport- 
ing "  propensities  of  cats. 


108      ANCIENT,   CURIOUS,  AND  FAMOUS  WILLS 

Lord  Chesterfield's  Cat 

Lord  Chesterfield  left  a  sum  for  the  support  of  his  favorite 
cat,  so  also  did  one  Frederic  Harper,  who  settled  one  hundred 
pounds,  invested  in  three  per  cent  annuities,  on  his  "young 
black  cat" ;  the  interest  to  be  paid  to  his  housekeeper,  Mrs.  Hodges, 
as  long  as  the  cat  should  remain  alive.  It  does  not  appear  how- 
he  provided  against  the  substitution  of  any  supposititious  black 
cat  for  his  favorite,  should  she  have  died  whether  of  neglect  or 
otherwise. 

A  Premium  on  Pigmanship 

A  wealthy  tradesman,  M.  Thomas  Heviant,  died  at  the  village 
of  Crone-sur-Marne  in  1878.  In  his  will  he  made  a  number  of 
singular  bequests,  among  which  was  the  following,  which  is 
carried  out  at  the  annual  fete  of  the  village.  He  ordered  that 
among  the  amusements  should  be  instituted  a  race  with  pigs,  the 
animals  to  be  ridden  either  by  men  or  boys.  The  sum  of  2000 
francs  was  set  apart  as  the  prize  to  the  lucky  rider  of  the 
winning  pig.  The  prize  was  not  to  be  handed  over,  however, 
except  on  the  condition  that  the  winner  wore  deep  mourning  for 
the  deceased  during  two  years  after  the  competition.  The  munici- 
pality accepted  the  eccentric  bequest,  and  these  singular  races 
have  been  held  agreeably  to  the  terms  of  the  will. 


CHARITY 
"...  Faith,  hope,  charity,  these  three;  but  the  greatest  of  these  is  charity." 

A  Perpetuity  Involved 

A  certain  gentleman  of  New  York  named  Marshall  had 
acquired  a  large  fortune  in  the  manufacture  of  cotton  goods. 
The  Lord  had  smiled  upon  him,  and  his  wealth  consequently 
loomed  up  in  large  proportions.  He  was  justly  proud  of  his  ma- 
terial success,  and,  being  childless  and  without  kin  on  this  side  of 
the  ocean,  he  resolved  to  perpetuate  his  name  and  commemorate 
that  liberality  towards  charitable  and  religious  objects,  for  which 
he  had  always  been  remarkable.  His  plan  was  to  have  his  execu- 
tors carry  on  his  manufacturing  business  for  the  benefit  of  religious 
and  charitable  corporations.     He  left  his  manufacturing  establish- 


ANCIENT,   CURIOUS,  AND  FAMOUS  WILLS      103 

merit  to  his  executors  in  trust  to  carry  on  the  same  and  divide  the 
profits  in  certain  proportions  between  the  American  Tract  Society, 
the  American  Home  Missionary  Society  and  the  American  Bible 
Society,  and  the  Marshall  Infirmary .^  the  latter  being  a  hospital 
which  he  had  founded.  The  court  held,  however,  that  there 
was  a  perpetuity  involved,  and  directed  that  the  estate  be  divided 
between  the  next  of  kin.  The  court  held  that  the  business  of  such 
religious  societies  was  the  printing  of  tracts  and  Bibles,  and  not 
the  manufacture  of  cotton  cloths.  It  took  eight  years  and  cost 
$50,000  to  establish  the  legal  meaning  of  the  will,  which  was  a 
very  different  meaning  from  that  which  the  testator  intended. 

Wise  Will  of  Peter  Burns 

For  years  to  come  some  families  of  Clay  County,  Missouri,  will 
have  occasion  to  remember  with  gratitude  the  wise  philanthropy 
of  a  sturdy  pioneer,  Peter  B.  Burns  of  Liberty,  who  died  in  July, 
1910;  the  terms  of  his  will  have  just  been  made  public.  On  the 
death  of  the  widow  half  the  estate,  which  is  valued  at  more  than 
$40,000,  is  to  go  to  Clay  County  to  be  administered  by  the  County 
Court  in  loans,  which  are  not  to  exceed  $2000  to  a  single  individual 
and  to  bear  two  per  cent  interest ;  are  to  be  secured  by  a  mortgage 
on  the  real  estate ;  and  are  to  be  paid  off  at  the  rate  of  at  least  $100 
a  year.  Thus  ten  families  at  a  time  will  constantly  be  given  a  lift 
toward  financial  independence. 

The  plan  is  based  on  the  sensible  principle  of  helping  men  to  help 
themselves.  As  the  help  is  in  the  shape  of  a  loan,  to  be  repaid,  it 
will  pauperize  no  one.  It  will  go  to  families  of  small  means,  and 
it  will  provide  an  incentive  to  people  to  save  enough  to  take  advan- 
tage of  the  assistance  offered. 

No  Study  before  Breakfast 

Countess  Anna  Maria  Helena  de  Nouilles,  a  member  of  one  of 
the  historic  families  of  France,  has  made  a  curious  will  which  was 
proved  in  July,  1910. 

She  left  her  estate  at  Meads,  Eastbourne,  England,  to  found 
"St.  Mary's  Orphanage,"  laying  down  the  following  rules  for  the 
education  of  the  girls  : 

"No  competitive  examinations,  no  study  before  breakfast,  no 
study  after  6  p.m.,  all  lessons  to  be  learned  in  the  morning,  no  girl 
to  work  more  than  four  and  a  half  hours  daily.     No  arithmetic. 


104      ANCIENT,   CURIOUS,   AND  FAMOUS  WILLS 

except  the  multiplication  table  for  children  under  ten.  No  child 
with  curvature  of  the  spine  to  write  more  than  five  minutes  a  day, 
until  thirteen.  Each  girl  must  be  certified  by  two  phrenologists 
as  not  deficient  in  conscientiousness  and  firmness.  No  child  to  be 
vaccinated." 

Weary  of  Reading  the  Will 

Nearly  a  hundred  years  ago,  the  Reverend  Dr.  Van  Bunschooten 
departed  this  life  and  entered  upon  his  reward :  by  his  last  will 
and  testament,  he  left  a  legacy  of  $20,000  to  the  Dutch  Reformed 
Church  of  America ;  the  gift  was  accepted  by  that  body  and  very 
properly  expended  for  church  purposes. 

The  testator,  doubtless,  with  a  view  to  posthumous  fame  and 
remembrance,  made  the  gift  on  the  express  condition  that  his  will 
should  be  read  at  all  the  official  sessions  of  the  Church  forever. 
The  Church  has  ever  since  been  reading  this  document  at  all  its 
official  meetings. 

It  appears  that  the  testament  is  of  considerable  length  and  much 
dryness,  and  its  reading  has  become  an  irksome  task :  the  Church 
has  recently  appealed  to  the  courts  of  New  York  to  be  released  from 
the  duty  of  further  reading  the  will,  and  it  is  to  be  hoped  that  the 
proper  tribunal  will  determine  that  sufficient  fidelity  and  honor 
have  been  shown. 

Will  of  Pinedo,  the  Portuguese  Jew 

This  remarkable  Israelite,  well  known  in  Amsterdam  for  his 
enormous  wealth  and  liberal  donations,  died  about  the  middle  of 
the  eighteenth  century.  His  will,  testifying  to  a  noble  and  gener- 
ous nature,  and  disposing  in  the  most  magnanimous  and  tolerant 
spirit  of  the  very  large  fortune  he  had  made,  is  to  be  found  (in 
Schutt's  "Memorabilia  Judaica,"  lib.  iv.  cap.  18)  as  follows: 

"I  bequeath  to  the  city  of  Amsterdam  the  sum  of  five  'tons'  of 
gold. 

"I  lend  to  the  said  city  for  ten  years,  and  without  interest, 
the  sum  of  a  million  and  a  half  of  florins. 

"I  give  to  every  Christian  church  at  Amsterdam  and  at  the 
Hague  the  sum  of  10,000  florins  each,  and  to  the  church  in  the 
southern  quarter  of  Amsterdam  20,000  florins. 

"I  give  to  each  Christian  orphanage  in  the  two  towns  the  sum 
of  10,000  crowns. 

"I  give  to  the  poor  of  Amsterdam  forty  shiploads  of  peat. 


ANCIENT,   CURIOUS,  AND  FAMOUS  WILLS      105 

"I  give  to  the  orphan  who  shall  first  quit  the  orphanage  1000 
florins,  and  to  the  one  who  shall  succeed  him  600  florins. 

"I  give  to  the  synagogue  at  Amsterdam  two  and  a  half  'tons  * 
of  gold. 

"I  give  to  the  Portuguese  orphanage  30,000  crowns. 

"I  lend  to  the  Government  at  three  per  cent,  interest,  ten  'tons' 
of  gold  on  condition  that  the  interest  shall  be  paid  to  the  Jews 
domiciled  at  Jerusalem :  the  capital  to  belong  to  the  Government 
in  perpetuity. 

"I  give  to  the  German  synagogue  5000  florins. 

"I  give  to  my  nephew  Ovis  thirty-one  'tons'  of  gold,  with  aU 
my  houses  and  appurtenances. 

"I  give  to  my  widow  ten  'tons'  of  gold.     . 

"I  give  to  my  other  relations  in  equal  portions  10,000  crowns. 

"I  give  to  each  of  my  neighbours  who  shall  assist  at  my  funeral 
100  ducats. 

"I  give  to  every  unmarried  person  of  either  sex  who  shall  be 
present  at  my  burial  100  florins,  and  to  every  Christian  priest 
in  Amsterdam  and  at  the  Hague  100  crowns,  and  to  every  sacristan 
50  crowns." 

Charitable  Light 

John  Wardall,  of  London,  by  will,  dated  29th  August,  1656, 
gave  to  the  Grocers'  Company,  a  tenement  called  the  White 
Bear,  in  Walbrook,  to  the  intent  that  they  should  yearly,  within 
thirty  days  after  Michaelmas,  pay  to  the  churchwardens  of  St. 
Botolph,  Billingsgate,  £4  to  provide  a  good  and  sufficient  iron  and 
glass  lantern,  with  a  candle,  for  the  direction  of  passengers  to  go 
with  more  security  to  and  from  the  waterside  all  night  long ;  the 
same  to  be  fixed  at  the  northeast  corner  of  the  parish  church 
of  St.  Botolph,  from  the  Feast  Day  of  St.  Bartholomew  to  Lady- 
day  ;  out  of  which  sum  £l  was  to  be  paid  to  the  sexton  for  taking 
care  of  the  lantern. 

Gratitude 

Charles  Jones,  Esq.,  of  Lincoln's  Inn,  by  will,  dated  17th 
January,  1640,  directed  that  an  hospital  should  be  built  near 
Pullhelly  for  12  poor  men,  and  that  his  father  first,  his  uncle  next, 
and  so  their  heirs,  should  fairly  and  justly  manage  and  govern 
such  hospital,  which  he  had  long  resolved,  and  with  the  desire  of 
his  deceased  wife,  who  was  with  his  father,  and  their  mother,  his 
brother  Griffith,  his  sister,  his  wife,  himself,  and  other  servants. 


106      ANCIENT,   CURIOUS,  AND  FAMOUS  WILLS 

mercifully  preserved  and  brought  to  land  in  Pullhelly,  from  im- 
minent and  present  danger  of  the  seas  by  God's  unspeakable  love 
and  favor ;  and  whereas  likewise  he  in  his  younger  years  was 
miraculously,  by  God's  own  hand,  drawn  and  led  from  the  house 
in  Port  thyn  Llayn,  Wales,  that  was  instantly  cast  and  thrown 
down  by  the  moultringe  of  an  hill  near  thereunto,  and  therein 
nine  persons  and  Christians  were  killed  by  reason  thereof;  him- 
self, a  child  of  three  or  four  years  of  age  at  the  most,  having  newly 
entered  the  house,  and  in  a  moment  returned,  not  thirty  yards 
from  the  house,  but  it  fell  all  to  dust  and  rubbish ;  for  these  and 
many  other  of  God's  great  mercies  and  loving  kindness  unto  him, 
he  and  his  deceased  wife  had  determined  of  this  poor  hospital ; 
for  the  maintenance  of  which  hospital  to  be  erected,  he  devised 
forever  certain  lands,  of  £50  per  annum,  and  ordained  his  brother, 
Robert  Jones,  his  executor. 

It  appears  by  a  Latin  inscription  in  front  of  the  almshouses, 
that  the  benevolent  intentions  of  the  founder  were  entirely  frus- 
trated during  the  troubles  of  the  civil  war,  and  that  the  present 
edifice  was  erected  by  his  heir,  William  Price,  Esq.,  of  Rhiwlas,  in 
the  year  1760. 

A  Light  for  Night  Travellers 

John  Cooke,  of  St.  Michael,  Crooked  Lane,  London,  by  will, 
dated  12th  September,  1662,  gave  to  the  churchwardens  and  vestry- 
men of  this  parish  £76,  to  be  laid  out  to  the  most  profit  and  advan- 
tage, for  various  uses,  and,  amongst  them 

To  the  parish  clerk,  on  condition  that  he  should  weekly,  on  a 
Saturday,  sweep  and  make  clean  the  aisle  of  the  church  called 
Fishmongers'  Aisle,  6s.  8d. 

For  the  maintenance  of  a  lantern  and  candle,  to  be  of  eight  in 
the  pound  at  the  least,  to  be  kept  and  hanged  out  at  the  corner  of 
St.  Michael's  Lane,  next  Thames  Street,  from  Michaelmas  to  Lady- 
day,  between  the  hours  of  nine  and  ten  o'clock  at  night,  until  the 
hours  of  four  or  five  in  the  morning,  for  affording  light  to  passengers 
going  through  Thames  Street  or  St.  Michael's  Lane,  £1. 

Beer  for  his  Associates 

In  1879  died  at  Berlin  a  singular  character,  a  man  of  large  prop- 
erty and  a  fervent  follower  of  the  sect  of  Gambrinus. 

The  Tageblatt  states  that  he  had  made  in  his  will  some  capricious 
dispositions  as  regarded  his  burial ;    so  abnormal,  indeed,  as  to 


ANCIENT,   CURIOUS,  AND  FAMOUS  WILLS      107 

call  for  the  intervention  of  the  police ;  one  of  his  directions  being 
that  his  friends  were  to  take  it  in  turns  to  roll  after  his  hearse  a 
barrel  of  beer,  which  they  were  afterwards  to  consume  upon  his 
grave. 

He  distributed  his  large  fortune  among  divers  charitable  institu- 
tions ;  but  to  his  will  was  appended  a  codicil  which  was  not  to  be 
opened  until  a  year  after  his  death.  This  anniversary,  adds  the 
Tageblatt,  occurred  recently. 

The  codicil  being  now  accessible  reveals  a  decree  creating  a  fund 
of  ten  thousand  marks,  the  interest  of  which  is  to  be  expended  in 
serving  weekly  a  quarter  of  a  tun  of  Bavarian  beer  to  the  fre- 
quenters of  a  brewery  in  the  Prinzenstrasse,  where  the  testator 
had  been  in  the  habit  of  spending  his  evenings  regularly  during 
many  years  —  these  persons  being  such  as  survived  of  his  con- 
temporaries. As  soon  as  all  shall  be  dead,  the  fund  is  to  be  trans- 
ferred to  the  first  foundling  hospital  that  shall  be  founded  in  Berlin, 
the  testator  himself  having  been  a  foundling. 

Travellers'  Rest 

George  Butler,  of  Coleshill,  Warwickshire,  by  will,  dated 
September  2,  1591,  gave  his  house  at  the  lower  end  of  the  town 
of  Coleshill,  called  the  almshouse,  also  a  house  and  lands  in  Gilson, 
to  the  uses  following,  viz.,  that  the  rents  thereof  should  be  em- 
ployed to  keep  the  said  almshouse  in  repair,  and  buy  furniture 
when  wanting ;  that  the  feoffees,  or  constables,  with  their  consent, 
might  lodge  any  poor  travellers  that  should  desire  it  in  the  said 
almshouse ;  that  none  should  be  suffered  to  lodge  there  more  than 
one  night,  except  great  cause  shown;  that  care  be  taken  women 
and  men  lodge  not  near  together ;  that  some  persons  be  permitted 
to  dwell  there  rent  free,  to  wash  the  house  and  furniture,  and  to 
take  care  of  the  poor  lodgers ;  that  the  overplus  of  the  rent  be  em- 
ployed to  some  charitable  use. 

Poor  Maimed  Soldiers 

Phillip  Shelley,  of  London,  by  will,  dated  the  6th  of  September, 
1603,  gave  certain  lands  in  Ulkerthorpe,  in  the  county  of  Derby, 
to  the  Company  of  Goldsmiths,  in  trust  (amongst  other  matters), 
to  pay  £10  per  annum  forever  towards  the  relief  of  poor  maimed 
soldiers,  which  sum  is  paid  generally  to  ten  pensioners  of  Chelsea 
Hospital. 


108      ANCIENT,  CUIIIOUS,  AND  FAMOUS  WILLS 

Tolerance 

William  Wilson,  of  Tewkesbury,  Gloucestershire,  England,  by  his 
will,  dated  15th  of  April,  1726,  gave  the  sum  of  £100  South  Sea 
Stock  to  the  Chamber  of  the  Corporation  of  Tewkesbury,  upon 
trust,  to  permit  the  high  bailiff  for  the  time  being  to  receive  the 
dividends  thereon,  and  dispose  of  the  same,  at  his  discretion,  to 
poor  persons  of  Tewkesbury,  especially  to  such  as  should  be  visited 
with  sickness  or  other  calamitous  accidents,  without  any  regard  to 
differences  of  political  and  religious  opinions,  the  bailiff  to  account 
to  the  chamber  for  the  disposal  of  the  same,  and  to  retain  10s. 
for  his  trouble. 

A  Republican  Will 

In  August,  1874,  MM.  Nicolet  and  Colmet-d'Ange  were  em- 
ployed to  plead  before  the  premiere  chambre  against  the  will  of 
Adolphe-Theodore-Ange,  du  Laurens  de  la  Barre. 

The  number  of  this  gentleman's  names  is  in  itself  an  eccentric- 
ity ;  his  will  was  another.  We  need  not  cite  the  whole  of  it,  but 
the  following  was  the  concluding  clause  : 

"In  case  I  should  leave  no  grand-nephews,  I  bequeath  my 
property,  after  the  death  of  Madame  Duhem  and  Mdlle.  Verdun, 
to  the  three  cities  of  Guingamp,  Morlaix,  and  Lannion,  on  condi- 
tion that  the  revenues  of  the  same  shall  be  employed  to  give  mar- 
riage portions  annually,  and  alternately,  in  each  such  city,  to  five 
young  girls  of  small  means. 

"I  desire  that  they  shall  begin  by  Guingamp  and  follow  with 
the  others  in  regular  order. 

"I  further  request  the  republican  members  of  the  conseil-general 
of  the  Finisterre,  to  the  number  of  five  —  to  the  absolute  exclu- 
sion of  Legitimists,  Orleanists,  Imperialists,  and  above  all  of  Cleri- 
cals and  Communards  —  to  find  five  young  girls  whose  parents, 
and  who  also  themselves,  hold  the  same  opinions  as  myself.  If 
at  the  conseil-general  there  should  not  be  found  the  required 
number  of  members,  those  there  are  must  call  upon  the  municipal 
counsellors  of  the  above-named  towns,  and  if  they  should  refuse 
to  accept,  on  all  the  municipal  counsellors. 

"The  Breton  people  is  dominated,  enchained  by  old  prejudices; 
it  must  be  liberated  from  its  bondage. 

"I  believe  in  an  unknown  God  whom  I  invoke  daily,  but  not  in  a 
God  of  human  creation. 

"  (Signed)  Adolphe-Theodore-Ange,  du  Laurens 

"Guingamp,  5th  October,  1872."     ^^  ^^  ^^^^^' 


ANCIENT,   CURIOUS,  AND  FAMOUS  WILLS       109 

A  Provision  for  Twins 

Mr.  and  Mrs.  Henry  C.  Mills,  of  Marblehead,  Massachusetts, 
are  the  first  claimants  under  a  bequest  made  in  the  will  of  Hon. 
James  J.  H.  Gregory,  which  provides  that  the  income  of  $1000 
shall  be  divided  each  year  among  the  parents  of  twins  born  in 
Marblehead.  The  Mills  twins  were  born  July  10,  1910,  and  are 
boys. 

The  will,  which  was  probated  about  a  month  after  Mr.  Gregory's 
death  in  February,  1910,  reads  as  follows : 

"Having  had  my  sympathies  often  aroused  by  reason  of  the 
extra  burden  and  care  entailed  on  loving  mothers,  poor  in  the 
things  of  earth,  who  have  brought  twins  into  the  world,  as  an 
expression  of  that  sympathy  I  leave  in  trust  to  my  beloved  town 
$1000,  with  the  provision  that  the  interest  be  divided  on  January 
first  between  all  twins  born  in  Marblehead  during  the  previous  year. 
In  case  no  twins  are  born  during  a  given  year  the  interest  shall 
be  added  to  the  principal." 

Dropping  Money  on  a  Tombstone 

On  Good  Friday,  in  the  Churchyard  of  St.  Bartholomew  the 
Great,  Smithfield,  after  divine  service,  one  of  the  clergymen  drops 
twenty-one  sixpences  on  a  tombstone,  to  be  picked  up  by  as  many 
poor  people,  widows  having  the  preference.  The  will  providing 
for  this  is  lost,  and  the  distribution  is  now  made  out  of  the  parish 
funds.     The  bequest  is  said  to  date  several  hundreds  of  years  back. 

Charity  Sermons  to  commemorate  National  Mercies 

Luke  Jackson,  citizen  and  girdler,  of  London,  by  will,  dated 
26th  of  January,  1630,  reciting  that  he  was  seized  in  fee  of  certain 
tithes  at  or  near  Horsepool,  in  the  county  of  Leicester,  being  about 
the  value  of  £20  per  annum,  devised  the  same  to  certain  persons 
on  trust,  yearly,  to  pay  the  clear  rents  and  profits  thereof  in  man- 
ner following ;  that  is  to  say,  two  equal  third  parts  as  followeth : 
40s.  thereof  yearly  to  be  given  for  two  sermons  to  be  preached  in 
St.  Peter's  church,  in  the  town  of  Nottingham,  on  28th  of  July  and 
5th  of  November,  acknowledging  God's  mercy,  and  giving  thanks 
for  the  deliverance  of  this  land  and  people  at  two  several  times 
from  the  Invincible  Armada  (as  it  was  termed)  in  1588,  and  from 
the  Gunpowder  Plot  in  1605 :    and  the  residue  of  the  said  two- 


110      ANCIENT,   CURIOUS,  AND  FAMOUS  WILLS 

thirds  to  be  distributed  amongst  the  poor  people  in  the  parish  of 
St.  Peter,  at  the  discretion  of  his  five  feoffees ;  and  the  other  third 
part  of  the  clear  profits  of  the  said  tithes  as  followeth,  viz.,  40s. 
for  two  sermons  to  be  preached  in  the  church  of  Thornton,  near 
Horsepool,  on  the  two  above  mentioned  days ;  and  the  residue  to 
be  distributed  amongst  the  poor  people  in  the  parish  of  Thornton, 
at  the  discretion  of  his  feoffees. 

Encouragement  for  Maid-servants 

John  Cogan,  of  Canterbury,  England,  by  his  will,  bearing 
date  27th  of  July,  1657,  recited  that  he  had  lately  purchased  lands 
and  tenements  in  the  parishes  of  St.  Mildred  and  St.  Mary  Castle, 
Canterbury,  and  in  Thanington  in  Kent,  of  the  yearly  value  of 
£35,  which  he  hoped  in  ten  years  would  improve  in  yearly  value 
by  £10,  and  which  he  intended  to  dispose  of  for  the  encouragement 
of  maid-servants,  to  continue  in  service  for  six  or  seven  years  to- 
gether; he  therefore  willed  and  devised  the  sum  of  five  pounds 
apiece  to  any  such  three  maid-servants  as  should,  without  compul- 
sion, dwell  with  any  master  or  mistress,  not  being  their  own 
kindred,  within  the  city  of  Canterbury,  for  six  or  seven  years 
together,  without  shifting  their  service ;  and  he  directed  that  such 
master  or  mistress  should  give  a  certificate  of  such  service,  and  that 
the  wages  had  not  exceeded  fifty  shillings  a  year,  to  the  mayor, 
recorder  and  three  or  more  of  the  aldermen  of  the  said  city  for  the 
time  being ;  and  he  further  directed  that  the  overplus,  after  keep- 
ing the  said  tenements  in  good  repair,  should  be  employed  by  the 
said  mayor,  recorder  and  three  of  the  said  ancient  aldermen  for 
the  time  being,  in  clothing  six  fatherless  maiden  children,  from  the 
age  of  six  to  twelve  years,  each  to  have  a  petticoat  and  waistcoat 
of  colored  kersey,  one  pair  of  shoes,  and  one  pair  of  stockings,  on 
Christmas  Day;  and  that  they  should  go  through  the  city  of 
Canterbury  from  parish  to  parish,  as  the  said  overplus  would 
extend. 

Bull  Baiting 

George  Staverton,  of  Wokingham,  Berks,  England,  by  will, 
dated  May,  1661,  gave  out  of  his  Staines  house  a  yearly  sum  of 
£6  to  buy  a  bull,  which  bull  he  gave  to  the  poor  of  Wokingham 
town  and  parish,  being  baited,  and  the  gift  money,  hide,  and 
offal  to  be  sold  and  bestowed  upon  the  poor  children  in  stockings 
of  the  Welsh,  and  shoes. 


ANCIENT,   CURIOUS,  AND  FAMOUS  WILLS      111 

Until  1823  the  baiting  of  the  animal  took  place  yearly  on  the 
21st  of  December,  in  the  market-place  of  Wokingham.  In  that 
year  the  Corporation  determined  upon  discontinuing  such  a  pro- 
ceeding, which  has  since  accordingly  been  omitted. 

Must  attend  Church 

The  last  will  and  testament  of  Thomas  Spackman,  of  Chffe 
Pypard,  Wilts,  England,  is  as  follows : 

"June  5th,  1675.  —  I  do  charge  my  lands  with  twenty-one  shil- 
lings by  the  year,  and  to  continue  for  ever ;  viz.,  one  shilling  to  the 
minister  of  the  parish,  to  mind  him  of  his  duty  in  catechizing  the 
children ;  twenty  shillings  to  the  poor  of  the  parish  yearly,  to  be 
given  them  at  the  church,  viz.  —  five  shillings  on  St.  Thomas's  Day, 
five  shillings  on  the  Annunciation  of  the  Blessed  Virgin  Mary,  five 
shillings  on  St.  John  the  Baptist's  and  five  shillings  on  St.  Mat- 
thew's Day  :  my  Will  is,  that  twenty  poor  people  do  receive  three- 
pence a-piece,  and  that  they  be  at  the  church  at  the  beginning  of 
prayers,  or  else  to  have  no  share ;  if  the  number  be  not  twenty, 
then  the  remains  to  be  given  to  those  that  are  best  deserving; 
and  if  they  can,  let  them  sing  the  15th  Psalm  ;  now,  if  the  minister 
be  a  good  man,  he  will  be  careful  to  see  this  my  Will  performed, 
for  the  honour  of  the  church,  that  at  this  day  is  almost  destitute." 

The  land  charged  with  this  payment  is  in  the  tithing  of  Broad 
Town,  and  the  property  of  William  Ruddle  Brown,  a  farmer. 
The  sum  has  been  for  many  years  distributed  in  bread. 

Fancy  for  Color 

Henry  Greene,  of  Melbourne,  Derbyshire,  England,  by  will, 
dated  22d  of  December,  1679,  gave  to  his  sister,  Catherine  Greene, 
during  her  life,  all  his  lands  in  Melbourne  and  Newton,  and  after 
her  decease  to  others,  in  trust,  upon  condition  that  the  said  Cath- 
erine Greene  should  give  four  green  waistcoats  to  four  poor  women 
every  year,  such  four  green  waistcoats  to  be  lined  with  green  galloon 
lace,  and  to  be  delivered  to  the  said  poor  women  on  or  before  the 
21st  of  December  yearly,  that  they  might  be  worn  on  Christmas 
Day. 

For  Paupers 

Valentine  Goodman,  of  Hallaton,  Leicestershire,  England, 
by  will,  dated  in  1684,  bequeathed  £800,  to  be  laid  out  in  land, 
and  the  profits  thereof  given  to  the   "most  indigent,  poorest, 


112      ANCIENT,  CURIOUS,   AND  FAMOUS  WILLS 

aged,  decrepid,  miserablest  paupers,"  viz.,  six  from  Easton,  four 
from  Medbourn,  four  from  Hallaton,  and  two  from  Blaston ;  and 
if  any  part  of  the  money  (was)  employed  for  easing  town  levies, 
or  not  according  to  the  intent  of  the  testator,  then  he  declared  that 
the  gift  should  cease,  and  the  money  be  employed  for  the  redemp- 
tion of  Turkish  captives. 

A  Religious  Task 

Dr.  Thomas  White,  of  Newark,  Nottinghamshire,  England, 
Bishop  of  Peterborough,  by  his  will,  bearing  date  in  1690,  gave 
to  the  poor  of  the  parish  of  Newark  £240,  to  be  laid  out  in  land, 
£10  of  which  rent  he  allotted  to  the  poor  yearly  forever,  and  the 
surplusage,  whatever  it  should  be,  to  the  rector,  as  a  reward  for 
his  pains  and  fidelity  in  the  distribution  of  the  said  £10  to  the  poor ; 
and  he  directed  that  the  distribution  should  be  made  yearly  by 
the  rector  in  the  church  porch,  in  the  presence  of  the  church- 
wardens or  overseers,  in  the  following  manner,  viz. :  that  it  should 
be  distributed  the  14th  of  December  to  twenty  poor  families,  or 
persons  of  forty  years  old  each,  by  equal  shares,  reckoning  husband 
and  wife  for  one  person,  who  should,  before  the  receipt  thereof, 
exactly  and  distinctly  repeat  the  Lord's  Prayer,  the  Apostles' 
Creed,  and  the  Ten  Commandments,  without  missing  or  changing 
one  word  therein.  And  if  any  man  and  wife  should  appear  for  a 
share  in  the  said  charity,  it  should  not  be  a  sufficient  qualification 
for  them  that  one  of  them  made  the  exact  rehearsal,  but  they  should 
both  make  it,  or  else  have  no  share  at  all  in  it.  He  also  directed 
that  no  one  should  receive  his  charity  twice,  till  all  the  poor  of  the 
parish  should  have  received  it  once  who  should  make  the  repetition 
aforesaid,  that  the  advantage  might  spread  as  far  as  possible. 

Attachment  to  a  Family  Name 

John  Nicholson  of  London,  Stationer,  by  will,  dated  28th  of 
April,  1717,  after  bequeathing  several  specific  legacies,  gave  all 
the  residue  of  his  estate  in  charity  towards  the  support  and  main- 
tenance of  such  poor  persons  of  the  Kingdom  of  England  as  should 
appear  to  be  of  the  name  of  Nicholson,  being  Protestants ;  and  he 
directed  that  it  should  be  disposed  of  in  the  following  manner, 
namely : 

One  hundred  pounds  a  year  to  two  such  poor  persons,  men  or 
women,  of  the  name  of  Nicholson,  towards  their  advancement  in 


ANCIENT,   CURIOUS,  AND  FAMOUS  WILLS      113 

marriage ;  to  each  of  them  £50 ;  always  observing  that  no  more 
than  £50  be  given  to  any  one  couple  so  marrying. 

One  hundred  pounds  per  annum  towards  putting  to  apprentice 
such  poor  boys  and  girls  of  the  name  of  Nicholson,  or  towards 
setting  them  up,  as  his  trustees  should  think  fit. 

And  one  hundred  pounds  per  annum  towards  the  support  and 
maintenance  of  such  poor  men  and  women  of  the  name  of  Nich- 
olson, as  his  trustees  should  direct ;  always  observing  that  not 
more  than  £10  a  year  and  not  less  than  £5  a  year  should  be  given 
to  any  one  person ;  the  said  sums  to  be  paid  to  them  at  their  own 
habitations. 

He  appointed  William  Nicholson,  Lord  Bishop  of  Carlisle ;  Mr. 
Nicholson,  the  Bishop's  son;  and  three  other  persons  of  the  name 
of  Nicholson,  two  of  whom  were  resident  in  London,  trustees, 
and  left  to  them  the  entire  management  of  this  charity  and  ap- 
pointed them  his  executors. 

Bequest  to  pay  Marriage  Fees 

Mr.  Thomas  Hatch,  of  Winkfield,  Berks,  England,  by  will, 
dated  3d  of  December,  1778,  gave  to  the  churchwardens  of 
Winkfield  £200  to  be  laid  out  in  the  public  funds,  the  interest  to 
be  applied  to  the  payment  of  the  fees  for  such  poor  persons  as  are 
willing  to  marry,  but  cannot  pay  the  expense. 

After  the  payment  of  the  marriage  fees  of  such  couples  as  claim 
it,  the  residue  is  distributed  by  the  churchwardens  in  small  sums 
of  money  and  articles  of  clothing  to  such  poor  persons  as  they  may 
think  deserving. 

Will  leaving  a  Fund  to  endow  a  Rosiere 

By  her  will,  dated  6th  of  December,  1870,  a  lady  of  Puteaux, 
Madame  Jeanne  Cartault,  bequeathed  to  that  parish  the  sum  of 
fifteen  thousand  francs,  the  interest  of  which  was  to  be  employed 
every  year  in  providing  a  marriage  portion  for  the  most  deserving 
among  the  poor  working  girls,  and  was  to  be  called  the  Cartault 
foundation.  The  gift  only  to  be  made  over  to  the  recipient  on 
her  marriage,  and  the  administrator  to  pay  the  amount  only  on 
the  wedding-day,  and  in  presence  of  the  registrar.  The  marriage 
to  take  place  on  or  about  the  17th  of  January,  being  the  wedding- 
day  of  Madame  Cartault. 

A  clause  in  the  will  provides  that  the  firstborn  of  this  marriage 


114      ANCIENT,   CURIOUS,  AND  FAMOUS  WILLS 

shall,  if  a  boy,  take  the  name  of  Edmond  —  that  of  M.  Cartault, 
and,  if  a  girl,  that  of  Jeanne  —  being  the  name  of  the  testatrix. 

According  to  these  directions,  on  the  29th  of  January,  1874,  took 
place  the  crowning  of  the  first  Rosiere  of  Puteaux,  in  conformity 
with  the  prescriptions  of  the  will,  and  with  it  the  donation  of  the 
amount  of  one  year's  interest  on  the  sum  bequeathed  —  seven 
hundred  and  fifty  francs. 

The  choice  had  fallen  on  a  young  woman  of  twenty-four.  Made- 
moiselle Eugenie  Bouillaud.  Her  qualifications  justified  the  selec- 
tion. She  was  an  orphan,  and  from  the  time  she  was  ten  years 
of  age  had  worked  for  the  support  of  her  grandparents,  who  lived 
in  extreme  poverty.  Her  mother  died  when  she  was  born,  and  her 
father  was  killed  in  trying  to  rescue  a  fellow-workman  from  a  well 
into  which  he  had  fallen. 

The  ceremony  was  rendered  picturesque  by  the  arrangements 
made  to  honor  the  occasion,  but  for  some  reason  every  demon- 
stration of  a  religious  nature  was  excluded.  An  immense  tent 
had  been  erected  near  the  mayor's  house,  decorated  with  flags 
and  banners.  The  proceedings  were  opened  with  a  piece  of  orches- 
tral music,  admirably  executed  by  the  Orpheonic  band  of  the 
town.  The  mayor  made  a  neat  and  appropriate  speech,  after 
which  M.  Laboulaye  addressed  the  Rosiere  and  the  assembled 
spectators. 

The  concluding  incident  of  the  ceremony  was  the  crowning  of 
the  young  girl,  whose  quiet,  modest  demeanor  well  became  her 
pale  but  interesting  face.  Her  name  was  then  inscribed  on  the 
virgin  page  of  the  Livre  d'or  des  Rosieres  de  Puteaux,  and  her  auto- 
graph signature  was  written  beneath  it  with  a  somewhat  trembling 
hand. 

To  Promote  Brotherly  Love 

Robert  Halliday,  of  Eastcheap,  London,  by  his  will,  dated 
6th  of  May,  1491,  gave  estates  in  the  parish  of  St.  Leonard, 
Eastcheap,  the  rents  to  be  applied  to  various  purposes,  and, 
amongst  others,  5s.  to  the  churchwardens  yearly,  either  to  make 
an  entertainment  among  such  persons  of  his  home  parish  of  St. 
Clement,  who  should  be  at  variance  with  each  other,  in  the  week 
preceding  Easter,  to  induce  such  persons  to  better  neighborhood, 
and  to  beget  brotherly  love  amongst  them ;  or  if  none  should  be 
found  in  the  said  parish,  then  to  make  an  entertainment  with  the 
said  5s.  at  the  tavern  amongst  the  honest  parishioners  of  the  said 


ANCIENT,   CURIOUS,  AND  FAMOUS  WILLS      115 

parish  on  the  day  of  our  Lord's  Supper,  commonly  called  Shere 
Thursday,  that  they  may  pray  more  fervently  for  the  souls  of  cer- 
tain persons  named  in  his  will. 

Drinking 

Edward  Cooper,  of  Slinfold,  Sussex,  England,  by  his  will, 
dated  10th  of  February,  1621,  gave  20^.  a  year  out  of  lands  called 
Whitbers,  in  Slinfold,  155.  thereof  to  be  bestowed  by  the  church- 
wardens and  overseers  upon  a  drinking,  for  the  use  of  the  poor  of 
the  parish  yearly,  at  the  feast  day  of  the  Purification  of  the  Virgin, 
in  as  good  sort  as  they  could,  and  the  other  5s.  to  drink  withal 
themselves,  for  their  labor  and  pains  therein. 

The  land  is  now  called  South  Whitbreads,  and  the  owner  of  the 
property  regularly  pays  the  sum  of  £l  yearly,  which  is  distributed 
amongst  the  poor  at  Christmas  by  the  churchwardens  and  over- 


Encouragement  to  attend  Divine  Service 

Thomas  Walker,  of  St.  James's,  Bristol,  England,  by  his  will, 
dated  25th  of  April,  1666,  ordered  as  follows:  "I  give  and  be- 
queath to  that  poor  parish  of  St.  James  the  sum  of  £200,  to 
purchase  for  ever  the  sum  of  £10  8s.  Od.  a  year  for  eight  poor 
house-keepers  that  are  known  to  live  in  the  fear  of  God,  and  to 
come  unto  the  church  every  Lord's  day,  a  six-penny  loaf  of  bread 
every  Sabbath  day,  after  morning  prayer,  unto  these  eight  poor 
house-keepers  for  ever ;  but  for  God's  sake  let  them  be  no  drunk- 
ards nor  common  swearers  —  no,  nor  that  do  beg  in  the  streets 
from  door  to  door,  but  let  them  be  quiet  people  that  do  desire  to 
live  in  the  fear  of  God.  Pray  let  their  bread  be  wheaten  bread, 
and  weight  as  it  ought  to  be." 

Stormy  Days 

Thomas  Wilhamson,  of  Castlerigg,  Cumberland,  England,  by 
will,  dated  14th  of  December,  1674,  gave  the  sum  of  £20  to  be 
laid  out  in  land  to  be  bestowed  upon  poor  people,  born  within 
St.  John's  Chapelry  or  Castlerigg,  in  mutton  or  veal,  at  Martinmas 
yearly,  when  flesh  might  be  thought  cheapest,  to  be  by  them 
pickled  or  hung  up  and  dried,  that  they  might  have  something  to 
keep  them  within  doors  upon  stormy  days. 


116      ANCIENT,   CURIOUS,  AND  FAMOUS  WILLS 

Snuff  and  Tobacco  for  the  Sick 

Dr.  F.  W.  Cumming  left  six  hundred  pounds  to  the  Royal 
Infirmary,  Edinburgh,  to  provide  poor  patients,  male  and  female, 
with  snuff  and  tobacco,  giving  the  following  reason  for  his  unusual 
bequest :  "  I  know  how  to  feel  for  the  suffering  of  those,  who  in 
addition  to  the  irksomeness  of  pain  and  the  tedium  of  confinement, 
have  to  endure  the  privation  of  what  long  habit  has  rendered  in  a 
great  degree  a  necessity  of  life." 

To   TOLL  THE   BeLL 

WiUiam  Minta,  of  Great  Gonerby,  Lincolnshire,  who  died  8th 
of  June,  1724,  gave  £5  to  the  poor  of  Gonerby,  to  be  distributed 
in  bread  to  sixteen  aged  people,  on  Good  Friday,  yearly,  a  "three- 
penny dole  a  piece,"  and  the  clerk  was  "to  toll  the  bell  at  three 
o'clock,  and  to  read  the  Epistle  and  Gospel,  and  sing  the  Lamenta- 
tion of  a  Sinner,"  and  to  have  one  shilling  reward. 

Christmas  Festivities 

William  Taylor,  of  Shropshire,  England,  by  will,  dated  6th  of 
February,  1735,  directed  that  Elizabeth  Leigh,  then  owner, 
and  the  persons  who  subsequently  should  be  owners  of  his  two 
freehold  houses,  &c.,  situate  in  High  Street,  in  the  parish  of  St. 
Leonard,  should  yearly,  for  ever,  on  the  26th  of  December,  give  and 
provide  a  good  and  wholesome  dinner  for  the  poor  persons,  alms- 
house women,  inhabiting  the  almshouse  belonging  to  the  parish  of 
St.  Leonard,  in  such  manner  as  of  late  years  has  been  provided  for 
them  on  that  day  by  the  testator  and  his  late  brother ;  and  they 
to  be  so  entertained  in  the  most  convenient  part  of  the  house  that 
fronted  the  street ;  and  upon  every  default  his  Will  was,  and  he 
ordered  the  sum  of  £10  to  be  paid  to,  and  equally  divided  amongst, 
such  poor  persons,  and  the  same  to  be  chargeable  upon  the  said 
houses,  &c. 

Gratitude  for  being  preserved  in  a  Battle 

Ezekiel  Nash,  an  Englishman,  of  Bristol,  St.  James',  for  a 
memorial  of  his  thankfulness  to  Almighty  God  for  his  wonderful 
preservation  in  an  engagement  with  a  French  frigate,  March  the 
8th,  1762,  gave  by  will,  dated  27th  of  March,  1800,  the  sum  of  £100, 
to  the  churchwardens  and  overseers  for  the  time  being  of  such 


ANCIENT,    CURIOUS,  AND  FAMOUS  WILLS      117 

parish  as  he  should  be  buried  in,  upon  trust,  to  Invest  the  same 
and  apply  the  mterest  annually  in  manner  following,  viz.,  to  the 
minister  of  the  same  parish,  for  preaching  a  sermon  yearly,  on  the 
8tli  of  March,  forever,  one  guinea ;  to  the  clerk  and  sexton  for  their 
attendance,  5s.  each;  the  residue  in  the  purchase  of  bread,  to  be 
distributed  on  the  8th  of  March,  and  the  six  Sundays  next  follow- 
ing, among  such  poor  persons  of  the  parish  whom  the  minister, 
churchwardens  and  overseers  should  think  fit  objects  to  receive 
the  same,  not  receiving  alms  or  other  charity. 

The  Gratitude  of  a  Member  of  Parliament 

Henry  Archer,  Esq.,  of  Hale,  England,  in  the  county  of  South- 
ampton, by  will,  dated  the  5th  of  November,  1764,  gave  the  sum  of 
£500  to  the  poor  of  the  borough  of  Warwick,  in  grateful  remem- 
brance of  the  very  great  honor  conferred  on  him  by  the  said 
borough  (which  he  represented  in  Parliament)  for  thirty  years  and 
upwards,  to  be  disposed  of,  and  managed  to  the  best  advantage  of 
the  said  poor  by  his  brother  Lord  Archer,  the  Earl  of  Warwick, 
and  Matthew  Wise,  Esq.,  and  by  the  respective  vicars,  church- 
wardens and  overseers  of  the  poor  of  the  parishes  of  St.  Mary  and 
St.  Nicholas,  in  the  said  borough,  for  the  time  being. 

The  interest  is  employed  in  purchasing  coals  in  the  summer, 
and  selling  them  to  the  poor  at  a  reduced  price  in  winter. 

In  Commemoration  of  John  Bunyan 

Samuel  Whitbread,  Esq.,  of  Bedford,  England,  by  will,  dated 
the  13th  of  July,  1795,  gave  to  the  trustees  of  the  "  Old  Meeting," 
out  of  respect  to  the  memory  of  John  Bunyan,  and  for  the  relief  of 
the  poor  of  the  congregation,  five  hundred  pounds,  to  be  laid  out 
by  his  executors  in  the  Three  Per  Cent.  Consols,  and  the  dividends 
to  be  annually  applied  in  giving  bread  to  the  poor  in  quartern  loaves 
every  Sabbath  morning,  from  October  to  May. 

After  the  death  of  Mr.  Whitbread,  the  sum  of  £500,  instead  of 
being  laid  out  in  stock,  was,  at  the  request  of  his  son,  the  late  Samuel 
Whitbread,  Esq.,  allowed  to  remain  in  his  hands  on  the  security  of 
his  bond,  conditioned  for  the  investment  of  £980  Three  Per  Cent. 
Consols,  being  so  much  stock  as  the  £500  would  then  purchase. 

A  bond,  subject  to  the  same  condition,  was  executed  about  1819 
by  William  Henry  Whitbread,  Esq.,  eldest  son  of  the  late  Samuel 
Whitbread,  in  lieu  of  the  former  bond. 


118      ANCIENT,  CURIOUS,  AND  FAMOUS  WILLS 

The  interest  payable  on  the  bond  amounts  to  £29  8s.  per  annum, 
which  is  received  regularly  by  the  trustees  of  the  Old  Meeting,  and 
is  laid  out  by  them  in  the  purchase  of  quartern  loaves,  which  are 
distributed  at  the  meeting-house  every  Sabbath  day,  from  May  to 
October,  among  such  poor  persons  of  the  congregation  as  the  trus- 
tees select. 

Dressing  a  Grave  with  Flowers 

William  Benson  Earle,  Esq.,  of  Grateley,  Hampshire,  England, 
who  died  in  1796,  gave  three  hundred  guineas  to  the  rector,  church- 
wardens, and  overseers  of  Grateley,  in  trust,  to  invest  the  same  in 
their  joint  names,  and  expend  half  the  interest  thereof  at  Christmas, 
and  the  other  half  at  Easter,  in  the  purchase  of  the  best  ox-beef  and 
cheese,  together  with  potatoes  or  peas,  or  both,  to  be  distributed  in 
just  proportions,  at  their  discretion,  among  the  poorest  families  in 
that  parish,  but  nowhere  else.  And  he  requested  that  one  guinea  of 
the  annual  interest  should  be  given  yearly  to  the  clerk  of  the  parish, 
so  long  as  he  should  cleanse  and  repair  with  flowers  in  the  different 
seasons,  as  had  before  been  done,  the  bed  over  the  remains  of  Dame 
Joanna  Elton,  in  the  churchyard  of  Grateley. 

Bread  for  the  Poor 

The  Rev.  Mr.  Pitt,  an  English  clergyman,  directed  sixty  penny 
loaves  to  be  given  to  the  poor  of  St.  Botolph's,  Bishopsgate,  yearly, 
on  Whit  Sunday,  by  eight  o'clock  in  the  morning,  upon  his  tomb, 
in  the  burying-ground,  in  Old  Bethlem. 

Bluecoat  Boys  and  Packets  of  Raisins 

In  accordance  with  the  will  of  Peter  Symonds,  dated  1586,  sixty 
of  the  younger  boys  of  Christ's  Hospital,  London,  attend  divine  ser- 
vice at  the  Church  of  Allhallows,  Lombard-street,  on  Good  Friday, 
and  are  presented  each  with  a  new  penny,  a  bun,  and  a  packet  of 
raisins. 

A  Fixed  Price  for  Corn  and  Wine 

A  citizen  of  Berne,  Switzerland,  left  this  unusual  will : 
"Being  anxious  for  my  fellow-citizens  of  Berne  (who  have  often 
suffered  by  dearth  of  corn  and  wine),  my  Will  is  that,  by  the  per- 
mission of  Providence,  they  shall  never  for  the  future  suffer  again 
under  the  like  calamity,  to  which  end  and  purpose  I  give  my  estate, 
real  and  personal,  to  the  Senate  of  Berne,  in  trust  for  the  people ; 


ANCIENT,   CURIOUS,  AND  FAMOUS  WILLS      119 

that  is  to  say,  that  they  receive  the  produce  of  my  estate  till  it 
shall  come  to  the  sum  of  (suppose  two  thousand  pounds) ;  that 
then  they  shall  lay  out  the  two  thousand  pounds  in  building  a  town 
house,  according  to  a  plan  by  me  left ;  the  lower  story  whereof  to 
consist  of  large  vaults  or  repositories  for  wine ;  the  story  above  I 
direct  to  be  formed  into  a  piazza,  for  such  persons  as  shall  come  to 
the  market  at  Berne  for  disposing  of  their  goods  free  from  the  in- 
juries of  the  weather ;  above  that  I  direct  a  council  chamber  to  be 
erected  for  a  committee  of  the  Senate  to  meet  in  from  time  to  time 
to  adjust  my  accounts,  and  to  direct  such  things  as  may  be  neces- 
sary for  the  charity ;  and  above  the  council  chamber  as  many  floors 
for  granaries  as  can  be  conveniently  raised,  to  deposit  a  quantity 
of  corn  for  the  use  of  the  people  whenever  they  shall  have  occasion 
for  it.  And  when  this  building  shall  be  erected,  and  the  expense  of 
it  discharged,  I  direct  the  Senate  of  Berne  to  receive  the  produce 
of  my  estate  till  the  same  shall  amount  to  the  sum  (suppose  of  two 
thousand  pounds) ;  and  when  the  price  of  corn  shall  be  under  the 
mean  rate  of  the  last  ten  years,  one  fourth  part,  they  shall  then  lay 
out  one  thousand  pounds  in  corn,  and  stow  it  in  my  granaries,  and 
the  same  in  wine,  when  under  one  fourth  of  the  mean  rate  of  the  last 
ten  years ;  and  my  Will  is  that  none  of  the  said  corn  or  wine  shall 
be  sold  until  the  price  of  corn  and  wine  shall  exceed  at  the  common 
market  one  fourth  of  the  mean  rate  for  the  last  ten  years ;  and  then 
every  citizen  of  Berne  shall  demand  daily  (and  proportionally 
weekly)  as  many  pounds  of  wheat  and  as  many  pints  of  wine  as  he 
has  mouths  in  his  family  to  consume,  and  no  more,  and  that  for  the 
same  he  pay  ready  money  after  the  mean  rate  that  it  has  been  at  for 
the  last  ten  years  past,  a  due  proportion  being  allowed  for  waste, 
and  that  to  be  settled  by  the  Senate ;  and  that  each  householder 
shall  be  so  supplied  as  long  as  the  price  of  corn  and  wine  shall  con- 
tinue above  the  rate  of  one  fourth  more  than  the  mean  rate ;  and 
whatsoever  increase  shall  be  made  of  the  capital,  it  shall  be  laid  out 
under  the  same  restrictions,  in  adding  to  the  stock  of  corn  and  wine ; 
which,  under  the  blessing  of  God,  will,  I  hope,  in  a  certain  time  re- 
duce these  two  necessary  articles  of  life  to  very  near  a  fixed  price, 
to  the  glory  of  God  and  the  benefit  of  the  poor." 

This  legacy  has  existed  about  300  years,  and  had  the  desired 
effect  at  Berne,  and  a  will  on  the  same  principle  has  been  made  for 
purchasing  fuel  for  the  poor  of  Kingston-on-Thames,  England. 


120      ANCIENT,   CURIOUS,  AND  FAMOUS  WILLS 

Fish  for  the  Poor  in  Lent 

John  Thake,  of  Clavering,  Essex,  England,  by  will,  dated  13th  of 
June,  1537,  gave  to  Robert  Cockerell  and  his  heirs  his  house  and 
lands  called  Valence,  upon  condition  that  they  should  forever, 
yearly,  on  Friday,  the  first  week  in  Lent,  give  to  poor  people  of 
Clavering  one  barrel  of  white  herrings  and  a  cade  of  red  herrings 
(a  cade  is  about  half  a  barrel),  always  to  be  given  by  the  oversight 
of  the  churchwardens  and  the  tenants  and  occupiers  of  the  lord- 
ship and  parsonage  of  Clavering. 

The  owner  of  the  farm  called  Valence,  regularly  sends  to  the 
house  of  the  parish  clerk,  in  Lent,  a  barrel  of  red  herrings  and  a 
barrel  of  white,  which  are  distributed  in  the  church  by  the  parish 
clerk  and  sexton,  four  to  each  married  couple,  two  to  each  widow 
and  widower,  and  one  to  each  child. 

Cow  Charity 

James  Goodaker,  of  Woodchurch,  Cheshire,  England,  in  1525, 
left  a  fund  by  will  to  buy  twenty  yoke  of  bullocks,  which  were  sub- 
sequently replaced  by  cows,  and  given  to  the  poor  of  Woodchurch 
parish :  every  parishioner  that  had  a  cow  or  cows  paying  yearly 
for  each  to  the  overseers  the  sum  of  2s.  8d.  every  Friday  before  Whit- 
sunday, which  hire  was  to  be  a  stock  for  the  benefit  of  the  poor 
forever. 

The  parish  of  Woodchurch  includes  ten  townships,  from  each  of 
which  a  trustee  of  the  cow  property  is  elected,  whose  duty  it  is  to  see 
that  the  animals  are  properly  taken  care  of,  and  those  persons  are 
termed  governors  of  the  cows.  There  is  an  annual  meeting,  on 
which  occasion  the  cows  are  produced  and  examined. 

Turkeys  for  Parishioners 

In  1691,  John  Hall  left  to  the  Weavers'  Company  a  dwelling-house, 
with  instructions  to  pay  10s.  per  annum  to  the  churchwardens  of 
St.  Clement,  Eastcheap,  to  provide  on  the  Thursday  night  before 
Easter  two  turkeys  for  the  parishioners,  on  the  occasion  of  their 
annual  reconciling  or  love-feast  (settlement  of  quarrels  or  disputes). 

Bread,  Beer,  Beef,  and  Broth 

John  Balliston,  of  St.  Giles's,  Norwich,  by  will,  dated  17th  of 
October,  1584,  devised  three  tenements  in  St.   Giles's  next  the 


ANCIENT,   CURIOUS,  AND  FAMOUS  WILLS      121 

Gates  to  certain  persons,  upon  condition  that  they  should  make 
distribution  to  the  poor  in  manner  following,  viz.  that  in  the  week 
before  Christmas,  the  week  before  Michaelmas,  and  the  week  after 
Easter,  in  the  church  of  St.  Giles,  the  minister  should  request  the 
poor  people,  all  that  should  receive  or  have  need  of  alms,  to  come 
to  church,  and  request  them  to  pray  for  the  preservation  of  the 
Prince,  &c. ;  that  the  poor  should  place  themselves  four  and  four 
together,  all  that  should  be  above  the  age  of  eleven  years,  and  that 
every  four  of  them  should  have  set  before  them  a  two-penny  wheat 
loaf,  a  gallon  of  best  beer,  and  four  pounds  of  beef  and  broth; 
that  the  minister  should  have  fourpence  for  his  pains  on  each  of  the 
three  days. 

The  rent  of  £2  a  year  is  paid  to  the  parish  for  the  premises,  which, 
with  other  charities,  is  laid  out  in  the  purchase  of  coals. 

Halfpenisty  Bread  Charity 

Robert  Grainger  of  Godmanchester,  Huntingdonshire,  by  his 
will,  dated  10th  of  October,  1578,  gave  and  appointed  as  much 
bread  as  could  be  made  of  a  coomb  of  wheat,  to  be  made  into  half- 
penny loaves,  and  to  be  distributed  among  the  poor  of  Godman- 
chester by  the  churchwardens,  to  be  charged  on  his  mansion  house 
in  Godmanchester. 

The  present  owner  of  the  house  pays  the  value  of  four  bushels  of 
wheat,  according  to  the  average  price  of  wheat  at  Huntingdon 
market,  on  the  Saturday  before  Good  Friday,  to  a  baker,  for  sup- 
plying the  bread,  which  is  distributed  on  Good  Friday. 

Cuttings  of  Fish 

Robert  Harding,  of  London,  by  will,  dated  20th  of  November, 
1568,  gave  to  the  Company  of  Fishmongers  an  annuity  of  £3  6*.  8c?. 
issuing  out  of  his  lands  and  tenements  in  Pudding  Lane ;  and 
Simon  Harding,  his  son,  by  deed,  7th  of  September,  1576,  confirmed 
the  same ;  to  hold  the  said  annuity  to  the  wardens  and  common- 
alty and  their  successors,  to  the  intent  that  they  should  pay  in  the 
Lent  season  £3,  that  is,  in  New  Fish  Street  305.  and  in  Old  Fish 
Street  305.,  to  the  use  of  the  poor  inhabiters  and  artificers  com- 
pelled by  necessity  to  repair  thither,  to  buy  the  cuttings  of  fish  and 
the  refuse  of  fish ;  the  residue  to  remain  to  the  wardens  for  their 
labors  in  this  behalf. 

There  being  no  poor  persons  of  the  description  mentioned  in  the 


122      ANCIENT,   CURIOUS,  AND  FAMOUS  WILLS 

will,  the  annuity  has  been  added  to  the  fund  distributed  to  the 
half-yearly  poor  at  Christmas. 

Bequest  of  White  Peas 

John  Huntingtdon,  of  Sawston,  Cambridgeshire,  England,  by 
will,  dated  4th  of  August,  1554,  devised  lands  and  tenements  to 
Joice  his  wife,  and  his  heirs,  upon  condition  that  his  heirs  should 
yearly  forever  sow  two  acres  of  land,  lying  together  in  Linton  field, 
with  white  peas,  one  coomb  to  be  yearly  bestowed  upon  each 
acre,  for  the  relief  of  the  people  of  Sawston. 

Two  acres,  the  property  of  Richard  Huddlestone,  Esq.,  the  lord 
of  the  several  manors  in  the  parish,  are  annually  sowed  with  white 
peas,  as  directed  by  the  will,  which  are  gathered  green  on  a  day 
fixed  by  the  occupier  of  the  land,  by  all  the  poor  indiscriminately, 
when  a  complete  scene  of  scramble  and  confusion  ensues,  attended 
with  occasional  conflicts. 

Milk  Tribute 

Edmund  Porter  of  Alresford,  Middlesex,  by  will,  dated  27th  of 
May,  1558,  directed  that  John  Porter  should  have  a  house  called 
Knapps,  with  the  appurtenances,  church  fences,  and  caprons 
(which  comprised  thirty-one  acres  of  land),  to  him  and  his  heirs, 
upon  condition  that  they  should  give  forever  the  morning  milk 
of  two  able  milk  beasts  to  the  poor  people  of  this  parish,  every 
Sunday  yearly,  from  Whitsunday  to  Michaelmas,  3s.  4d.  on  Good 
Friday,  and  a  like  sum  on  Christmas  Day. 

This  milk  tribute  has  subsequently  been  commuted  for  a  money 
payment,  which  is  distributed  in  bread  amongst  the  poor. 

4 
BVBIAL 

"He  will  awake  no  more;  no,  never  more." 

A  Primitive  Belief 

There  seems  to  have  been  a  wide-spread  primitive  belief  that  the 
spirit  of  the  departed  could  not  rest  in  peace  unless  the  obsequies 
were  duly  performed.  Thus  the  ghost  of  Patroclus  appeared  to 
Achilles  to  request  that  his  body  might  be  buried  in  order  that  he 
might  pass  the  gates  of  Hades.  This  belief  was  apparently  fostered 
by  the  doctrine  of  the  resurrection  of  the  body. 


ANCIENT,   CURIOUS,  AND  FAMOUS  WILLS      123 

Veteran's  Request 

Robert  Riedel,  of  Detroit,  Michigan,  died  in  June,  1910.  He 
had  fought  through  the  Franco-Prussian  War.  By  the  terms  of 
his  will,  he  left  to  Detroit  survivors  of  his  old  company,  fifteen 
dollars  with  which  to  buy  beer  after  they  had  marched  to  his 
funeral.     It  is  said  the  purchase  was  made  and  duly  drunk. 

His  Heaet  to  be  sent  Home 

There  was  filed  in  Pittsburgh,  Pennsylvania,  on  September  24th, 
1910,  the  will  of  Count  Julian  S.  De  Ovies,  former  Chilian  Consul 
in  Pittsburgh.  He  left  his  entire  estate  to  his  wife,  Minnie, 
his  son,  Rev.  Raimundo  B.  De  Ovies,  and  his  daughter,  Edith 
Manselea  De  Ovies.     One  curious  sentence  in  the  will  reads : 

"I  request  that  my  body  be  cremated  and  my  heart  be  sent, 
according  to  family  custom,  to  the  chapel  of  Santa  Maria,  in 
Luanco,  Conbecejo  de  Gozon,  Province  of  Austria,  Spain." 

Wished  a  Perpendicular  Grave 

A  nobleman  of  the  house  of  Du  Chatelet,  who  died  about  1280, 
left  in  his  will  a  singular  provision.  He  desired  that  one  of  the 
pillars  in  the  church  of  Neufchateau  should  be  hollowed  out  and 
his  body  placed  in  it  on  its  feet,  "in  order,"  says  he,  "that  the 
vulgar  may  not  walk  about  upon  me."  In  a  very  different  spirit 
was  the  following  will. 

Will  of  Guillaume  de  Champlitte 

This  worthy  was  Sire  de  Pontailler  and  de  Talmai,  Viscomte 
de  Dijon,  and  descended  from  Guillaume  de  Champlitte  II., 
Viscomte  de  Dijon,  founder  of  the  Priory  of  St.  Marie  de  Pon- 
tailler, of  the  order  "du  Val  des  Ecoliers."  Shortly  before  his 
death  in  1282,  he  made  a  will,  desiring  that  he  might  be  interred 
wearing  the  habit  of  a  cordelier,  and  laid  upon  some  litter.  He 
further  ordered  there  should  be  but  four  "chandailles,"  i.e.  candles, 
tapers,  or  torches  employed  at  his  funeral.  He  requested  also 
that  his  body  should  be  placed  under  the  porch  of  the  church  of  the 
Priory  of  Pontailler,  that  passers-by  might  walk  over  it.  His 
desire  was  to  be  laid  near  his  father,  who  had  likewise  caused  him- 
self to  be  buried  under  the  porch. 


124      ANCIENT,  CUIIIOUS,  AND  FAMOUS  WILLS 

Buried  in  Cambric 

Lately,  at  Taunton,  far  advanced  in  years,  Mrs.  Mary  Davis, 
an  eccentric  character,  died.  In  her  will  she  ordered  that  the 
expenses  of  her  funeral  should  not  exceed  $1500,  but  that  she 
should  be  buried  in  cambric,  and  that  her  coflBn  should  be  made  of 
mahogany. 

Bequeathed  him  Funeral  Expenses 

Mrs.  Mary  Thomas  Piper,  a  wealthy  widow  of  Kansas  City, 
died  in  1910.  To  Rollins  Bingham,  a  nephew,  she  left  $250  to  be 
held  in  trust  and  used  only  for  his  funeral  expenses.  It  appears 
that  the  conduct  and  habits  of  the  nephew  had  not  been  pleasing 
to  the  testatrix,  and  she  adopted  this  weird  way  of  revenging 
herself  upon  one  who  had  formerly  been  a  favorite  kinsman,  but 
had  subsequently  incurred  her  displeasure. 

This  sum  of  $250  was  left  in  trust  in  the  hands  of  her  executor 
to  be  held  until  the  death  of  the  nephew,  and  then  applied  to  give 
him  proper  burial. 

Rollins  Bingham  was  a  newspaper  writer  of  Kansas  City, 
Missouri,  and  his  father  was  General  George  C.  Bingham,  a  dis- 
tinguished Missouri  artist,  who  painted  the  well-known  pictures, 
"General  Order  No.  11  "  and  the  "County  Election."  He  died 
quite  recently,  shortly  after  the  above-mentioned  will  was  pro- 
bated, and  the  legacy  at  which  he  scoffed  was  used  for  the  pur- 
pose named. 

To  induce  People  to  Pray 

The  will  of  Master  Robert  Toste,  Provost  of  the  Collegiate 
Church  of  Wingham,  dated  17th  of  August,  1457,  recites :  "  My 
body  to  be  buried  on  the  uppermost  step,  on  the  north  part  of 
the  high  altar,  where  the  Gospel  is  read  in  the  choir  on  holidays 
in  Wingham.  I  Will  that  a  marble  stone  be  laid  over  me,  with 
an  inscription,  to  induce  people  to  pray  for  my  soul.  I  bequeath 
part  of  my  books  to  the  new  College  of  All  Souls,  founded  by 
Archbishop  Chicheley,  part  to  University  College,  and  part  to 
the  University  Library  of  Oxford." 

Buried  in  an  Old  Chest 

The  Rev.  Luke  Imber,  of  Christchurch,  Hants,  England,  one 
of  his  Majesty's  Justices  of  the  Peace  for  that  county,  who,  at  the 
age  of  eighty-three,  married  a  country  girl  of  thirteen,  desired  in 


ANCIENT,   CURIOUS,  AND  FAMOUS  WILLS      125 

his  will  that  he  might  be  buried  in  an  old  chest  which  he  had  for 
some  time  kept  by  him  for  that  purpose,  and  that  the  bearers 
should  have  each  of  them  a  pair  of  tanned  leather  gloves  and  a  new 
pair  of  shoes,  which  were  given  accordingly. 

Bribing  the  Children 

Mr.  Tuke,  of  Wath,  near  Rotherham,  England,  who  died  in 
1810,  bequeathed  one  penny  to  every  child  that  attended  his 
funeral  (there  came  from  600  to  700) ;  Is.  to  every  poor  woman 
in  Wath ;  10s.  Qd.  to  the  ringers  to  ring  a  peal  of  grandbobs,  which 
was  to  strike  off  whilst  they  were  putting  him  into  his  grave ;  to 
an  old  woman  who  had  for  eleven  years  tucked  him  up  in  bed, 
£1  Is.  per  annum ;  to  his  natural  daughter,  £4  45.  per  annum ;  to 
his  old  and  faithful  servant,  Joseph  Pitt,  £21  per  annum ;  forty 
dozen  penny  loaves  to  be  thrown  down  from  the  church  leads  on 
Christmas  Day  forever.  Two  handsome  brass  chandeliers  were 
also  bequeathed  to  the  church,  and  £20  for  a  new  set  of  chimes. 

Hand  to  be  Cut  Off 

Mysterious  directions  in  wills  are  sometimes  to  be  met  with 
which  only  a  knowledge  of  the  inner  family  history  can  explain; 
such  as  the  direction  in  the  will  of  the  late  Countess  of  Loudoun, 
the  half-sister  of  the  last  Marquis  of  Hastings :  "After  my  death 
I  direct  my  right  hand  to  be  cut  off,  and  buried  in  Donnington 
Park,  at  the  bend  of  the  hill  towards  the  Trent,  with  this  mottoe 
over  it,  'I  byde  my  tyme.'"  This  direction  was  faithfully  carried 
out  by  the  lady's  husband,  and  the  monument  can  now  be  seen  in 
Donnington  Park,  in  England. 

An  Epitaph 

There  was  a  certain  missionary  who  was  killed  in  India  by  an. 
attendant.     His  epitaph  reads  : 

Killed  by  an  attendant. 


Well  done,  thou  good  and 
faithful  servant. 


126      ANCIENT,   CURIOUS,  AND  FAMOUS  WILLS 

Two  Wives  "Seven  Foot"  in  Length 

The  will  of  John  Wilcocks,  of  Chipping,  Wycomb,  England, 
5th  July,  1506.  "My  body  to  be  buried  in  the  Church  of  All 
Hallondon  on  Wye,  before  the  rood.  To  the  repair  of  our  Lady's 
Chapel  of  my  grant  xxiii^.  ivd.,  I  Will  that  my  executors  pay  the 
charge  of  new  glazing  the  window  in  the  said  Chapel ;  also  I 
Will  that  an  obit  be  kept  yearly ;  I  Will  that  my  executors  buy 
a  marble  stone  to  lay  on  my  grave,  with  the  picture  of  my  two 
wives  of  vii  foot  in  length,  the  stone  mentioning  her  sons  Thomas 
and  Michael  Wilcocks.  I  appoint  Walter,  my  son,  my  executor, 
and  also  Robert  Ashebrooke  and  Robert  Brampton,  priests,  and 
John  Aley,  my  executors." 

Wanted  no  Mourning 

Theodore  James  Ralli,  of  Paris,  an  artist,  who  died  at  Lausanne, 
Switzerland,  on  September  26th,  1909,  left  personal  estate  in  the 
United  Kingdom  valued  at  £8055. 

The  testator  left  to  his  daughter,  Ina,  in  addition  to  her  compul- 
sory portion  in  accordance  with  the  law  of  France,  his  automobile 
and  the  contents  of  his  studio  not  otherwise  bequeathed ;  a  sum 
of  5000  fr.  to  his  friend,  Mr.  Hawkins ;  15,000  fr.  to  the  Societe  des 
Artistes  Frangais,  the  income  from  which  is  to  be  awarded  annually 
as  a  prize  to  be  known  as  The  Theodore  Ralli  Prize ;  to  the  Fine 
Arts  Museum  in  Athens,  all  pictures  of  Greek  subjects  and  framed 
studies  in  his  studio ;  5000  fr.  to  his  model  if  she  should  still  be  in 
his  service  at  the  time  of  his  death  ;  and  the  residue  of  his  property 
to  his  brothers,  Spiridon  and  Manati,  for  life,  with  remainder  to  his 
daughter  Ina. 

Appended  to  the  will  is  a  letter  expressing  his  wishes  in  the  follow- 
ing manner :  "Let  me  be  placed  in  my  coffin  as  quickly  as  possible 
after  my  death,  and  let  nobody  outside  the  household  be  admitted 
to  my  death  chamber  before  I  am  placed  in  my  coffin.  In  a  word, 
I  do  not  wish  anybody  to  attend  through  curiosity  to  see  how  I 
look.  Let  no  photographs  be  made  of  my  corpse,  and  let  me  be 
buried  as  soon  as  possible.  For  the  love  of  God,  do  not  weep  for 
me.  I  have  lived  a  life  happy  enough.  The  aim  of  my  life  was 
painting,  and  I  gave  it  all  of  which  I  was  capable.  I  might  have 
lived  twenty  years  more,  but  I  could  not  have  progressed  any 
more,  so  what  was  the  good  of  it  ?     And  how  content  I  should  be 


ANCIENT,   CURIOUS,  AND  FAMOUS  WILLS      127 

if  no  one  wore  any  marks  of  mourning  for  me.  I  always  had  a 
horror  of  it.  So,  if  you  cannot  do  otherwise,  wear  the  least  of  it 
possible." 

Ashes  in  a  Golden  Receptacle 

Carl  Schumann,  a  pedlar  who  died  in  May,  1910,  at  the  Home 
for  the  Aged  in  Cincinnati,  Ohio,  directed  that  his  body  be  cre- 
mated and  the  ashes  tossed  to  the  winds.  The  will  also  bequeathed 
the  sum  of  Fifty  Dollars  to  the  Herwegh  Maennerchor  Society, 
with  instructions  that  after  the  cremation  the  members  spend  the 
money  having  a  good  time. 

The  ceremony  took  place  at  the  crematory  at  two  o'clock  in  the 
afternoon,  and  was  conducted  by  Mr.  A.  Goldstein,  the  leader  of 
the  Herwegh  Maennerchor.  While  the  body  was  being  consumed, 
the  society  sang  two  German  songs  which  were  Schumann's 
favorites. 

When  the  body  was  reduced  to  ashes,  they  were  gathered  and 
placed  in  a  golden  receptacle,  and  as  the  final  words  were  spoken, 
they  were  tossed  into  the  air  by  Mr.  R.  Schueschner.  The  society 
then  began  the  celebration. 

Directions  for  Cremation 

In  these  days  cremation  is  recognized  as  a  good  and  lawful  way 
of  disposing  of  our  remains ;  but  so  late  as  1855  it  was  not  so,  for 
we  find  Mr.  William  Kinsett,  of  London,  in  his  will  proved  in 
October  of  that  year,  stating  that,  "believing  in  the  impolicy  of 
interring  the  dead  amidst  the  living,  and  as  an  example  to  others, 
I  give  my  body,  four  days  after  death,  to  the  directors  of  the 
Imperial  Gas  Company,  London,  to  be  placed  in  one  of  their 
retorts  and  consumed  to  ashes,  and  that  they  be  paid  ten  pounds 
by  my  executors  for  the  trouble  this  act  will  impose  upon  them  for 
so  doing.  Should  a  defence  of  fanaticism  and  superstition  prevent 
their  granting  this  my  request,  then  my  executors  must  submit 
to  have  my  remains  buried,  in  the  plainest  manner  possible,  in  my 
family  grave  in  St.  John's  Wood  Cemetery,  to  assist  in  poisoning 
the  living  in  that  neighbourhood." 

Some  time  after  this  the  matter  was  frequently  discussed  in  the 
papers,  and  public  opinion  grew  slowly  in  favor  of  the  practice. 
But  it  seemed  to  have  been  generally  doubted  whether  such  a 
method  was  in  accordance  with  law  and  the  words  in  the  Church 
Service,  "Earth  to  earth,"  as  in  1867  we  find  a  testator  directing 


128      ANCIENT,   CURIOUS,  AND  FAMOUS  WILLS 

his  nephews  to  cause  his  body  to  be  burned  "if  that  can  be  legally 
done."  This  testamentary  wish  to  be  cremated  is  not  confined 
to  recent  times,  and  there  seems  in  the  18th  century  to  have  been 
no  difficulty  in  executors  carrying  out  the  directions  in  this  re- 
spect in  the  wills  under  which  they  acted.  In  Dodsley's  "Annual 
Register"  for  1769,  under  date  of  Sept.  26,  there  appears  the  follow- 
ing statement :  "Last  night  the  will  of  Mrs.  Pratt,  a  widow  lady, 
who  lately  died  at  her  house  in  George  Street,  Hanover  Square, 
was  punctually  fulfilled  by  the  burning  of  her  body  to  ashes  in  her 
grave  in  the  new  burying-ground  adjoining  to  Tyburn  turnpike." 

Coffin  covered  with  Calico 

Judge  E.  Y.  Terral,  of  Cameron,  Texas,  died  in  August,  1910. 
His  estate  was  valued  at  eight  thousand  dollars.  By  his  will, 
he  directed  that  no  funeral  services  be  had  over  his  body,  that  no 
printed  notices  of  his  death  be  issued,  that  he  be  buried  in  a  coffin 
made  from  rough  pine  plank  covered  with  black  calico  and  carried 
in  a  wagon  or  hack  to  the  cemetery,  and  that  no  marble  slab  be 
erected  at  his  grave. 

Cards  and  Wine  at  his  Funeral 

A  Frenchman,  who  was  an  enthusiastic  card  player,  left  to  cer- 
tain of  his  card-playing  friends  a  legacy  of  considerable  size  on 
condition  that,  after  placing  a  deck  of  cards  inside  his  coffin  with 
his  body,  they  should  carry  him  to  the  grave  and  should  stop  on 
the  way  to  drink  a  glass  of  wine  at  a  small  saloon,  where  he  had 
passed  "so  many  agreeable  evenings  at  piquet." 

Will  of  the  Sieuk  Boby 

An  attempt  to  invalidate  this  will  was  made  by  the  heirs  of  the 
testator  seven  years  after  his  death,  but  the  court  pronounced  in 
its  favor.     It  is  dated  1845. 

It  certainly  exhibits  many  singularities,  and  there  was  no  con- 
testing the  fact  that  the  testator,  who  died  at  the  age  of  ninety-six, 
had  been  remarkable  for  his  eccentricities  for  many  years.  He  had 
at  one  time  possessed  a  fortune  of  about  two  and  a  half  million 
dollars,  and  at  his  death  left  no  more  than  $15,000 ;  moreover,  he 
had  been  placed  under  tutelage  during  the  three  last  years  of  his 
life. 


ANCIENT,   CURIOUS,  AND  FAMOUS  WELLS      129 

Several  wills  were  found  after  his  death,  and  the  singularity  of 
some  of  the  clauses  formed  a  plea  of  imbecility  on  the  part  of  those 
who  had  expected  to  inherit  his  fortune. 

One  of  these  was  a  legacy  to  an  old  priest,  to  whom,  although  he 
had  in  his  collection  many  paintings  of  sacred  subjects,  he  be- 
queathed a  "Cupid  nestling  in  a  bouquet  of  roses"  to  remind  him, 
as  he  said,  of  his  youthful  days. 

Towards  the  close  of  his  life  he  manifested  what  is  in  France 
technically  known  as  an  obituary  monomania,  appearing  entirely 
preoccupied  with  his  death,  and  what  was  to  become  of  his  remains. 
On  this  subject  he  expressed  himself  thus : 

"Eight-and-forty  hours  after  my  decease  I  desire  that  a  post- 
mortem examination  be  made ;  that  my  heart  be  taken  out  and 
placed  in  an  urn,  which  shall  be  intrusted  to  M.  Baudoin  (the 
undertaker).  In  conformity  with  an  arrangement  between  him 
and  myself,  my  heart  is  to  be  conveyed  to  a  mausoleum  in  the  de- 
partment of  La  Mayenne,  and  there  to  be  deposited  as  agreed." 

His  epitaph  was  written  out,  and  in  this  he  had  allowed  himself 
considerable  margin,  as  he  fixed  the  date  of  his  death  forty-five 
years  later  than  it  actually  occurred. 

The  letters  of  announcement  were  all  prepared : 

"M.  et  Madame  Lappey  ont  I'honneur  de  vous  faire  part  de  la 
perte  douloureuse  qu'ils  viennent  de  faire,  dans  la  personne  de 
M.  Boby,  decede  en  sa  demeure  rue  de  Louvois  10.  Les  convoi, 
service  et  enterrement  auront  lieu  le  .  .  .  1890,  a  midi  tres 
precis  a  Saint  Roch." 

According  to  this  date  he  would  have  been  one  hundred  and 
forty. 

Heart  and  Brains  Bequeathed 

Dr.  Ellerby  died  in  London  in  February,  1827.  He  was  a 
member  of  the  Society  of  Friends.  He  passed  for  being  a  very 
eccentric  character,  and  all  his  habits  bore  the  stamp  of  originality. 
In  his  will  are  to  be  found  some  singular  clauses,  among  them  the 
following : 

"Item  :  I  desire  that  immediately  after  my  death  my  body  shall 
be  carried  to  the  Anatomical  Museum  in  Aldersgate  Street,  and 
shall  be  there  dissected  by  Drs.  Lawrence,  Tyrell,  and  Wardrop, 
in  order  that  the  cause  of  my  malady  may  be  well  understood. 

"Item  :  I  bequeath  my  heart  to  Mr.  W.,  anatomist;  my  lungs 
to  Mr.  R. ;  and  my  brains  to  Mr.  F.,  in  order  that  they  may  pre- 


130      ANCIENT,   CURIOUS,  AND  FAMOUS  WILLS 

serve  them  from  decomposition  ;  and  I  declare  that  if  these  gentle- 
men shall  fail  faithfully  to  execute  these  my  last  wishes  in  this 
respect  I  will  come  —  if  it  should  be  by  any  means  possible  — 
and  torment  them  until  they  shall  comply." 

This  threat  did  not  much  alarm  the  above-named  parties,  for  it 
appears  that  they  unhesitatingly  renounced  their  several  legacies. 

The  Earth  needed  for  Corn 

John  W.  Wallace,  of  Brooklyn,  New  York,  died  on  the  28th 
day  of  December,  1909;  his  will  contained  the  following  novel 
provisions,  which  it  is  reported  were  literally  carried  out : 

"I  direct  that  my  body  be  placed  in  a  pine  box  not  to  cost  more 
than  five  dollars ;  placed  in  an  express  wagon  and  taken  to  a 
crematory ;  that  after  cremation,  the  ashes  shall  be  scattered  in  a 
field.  The  entire  cost  of  the  disposal  of  my  body  is  not  to  exceed 
fifty  dollars.  My  reason  is,  that  I  believe  a  man  gets  out  of  life 
all  that  he  is  entitled  to,  according  to  the  amount  of  brain  and 
energy  he  puts  into  it,  and  when  he  dies,  should  not  occupy  ground 
that  may  be  needed  for  highways,  or  for  planting  corn,  or  for  any 
other  purpose  that  future  generations  may  have  for  it.  I  believe 
that  when  I  die  my  money,  if  I  have  any,  should  go  to  those  depen- 
dent upon  me,  and  not  into  expensive  coffins  and  flowers." 

Took  no  Chances 

A  horror  of  being  buried  alive  so  haunted  Mr.  R.  of  Chicago  that 
on  his  death  he  left  minute  instructions  in  his  will  to  make  such 
a  fate  quite  impossible  in  his  case.  His  body  was  not  to  be  fastened 
up  in  his  coffin  till  thirty  days  after  his  funeral,  and  the  vault 
in  which  the  body  was  placed  was  to  be  kept  lighted  and  its  doors 
left  unlocked.  Provision  was  also  made  for  the  employment  of 
two  men  —  trusted  employees  of  the  deceased — who  were  to  guard 
the  entrance,  one  by  day  and  the  other  by  night. 

Her  Carriages  burned  and  Horses  Shot 

Quite  a  number  of  men,  both  Americans  and  Englishmen,  who 
have  spent  a  great  part  of  their  lives  in  hunting,  have  wished  to  be 
buried  in  their  hunting  dress,  and  this  desire  has  been  shared  by 
at  least  one  woman.  An  eccentric  Welsh  lady,  who  lived  at  a 
small  place  called  Llanrug,  was  buried  there  in  1895  in  accordance 
with  the  provisions  of  her  will,  which  was  in  keeping  with  the  local 


ANCIENT,   CURIOUS,  AND  FAMOUS  WILLS      131 

estimate  of  her  character.  She  wished  to  be  buried  in  her  fox- 
hunting clothes.  The  rest  of  her  clothes  and  her  carriages  were 
to  be  burned  on  the  day  of  her  funeral,  and  all  her  horses  —  six 
in  number,  varying  in  value  from  £60  to  £90  each  — were  to  be  shot 
on  the  day  following  the  funeral.  The  remainder  of  her  real  and 
personal  property  to  the  value  of  £90,000  was  left  to  her  "dear 
husband,"  —  a  former  laborer  on  her  estate,  with  whom  some  years 
previously  she  had,  on  her  own  suggestion,  contracted  a  marriage, 
—  provided  that  he  strictly  and  literally  carried  out  all  the  orders 
expressed  in  her  will. 

Funeral  cost  Six  Francs 

Some  very  rich  men  during  their  lives  seem  to  enjoy  the  luxury 
of  preparing  at  great  expense  the  mausoleums  they  wish  to  occupy 
after  death.  M.  Lalanne,  a  wealthy  Parisian,  went  to  the  other 
extreme.  He  had  a  horror  of  anything  like  ostentatious  funerals, 
and  after  bequeathing  over  a  million  francs  to  the  various  public 
institutions  of  his  native  city,  he  directed  that  his  body  be  buried 
as  cheaply  as  possible  —  in  fact,  hke  that  of  a  pauper.  A  shabby 
one-horse  vehicle  conveyed  his  body  to  the  fosse  commune  (the 
Potter's  Field),  and  the  total  cost  of  the  funeral  was  only  six  francs, 
that  being  the  charge  for  the  cheapest  kind  of  funeral  under  the 
French  system,  in  which  the  undertaker's  business  is  a  govern- 
ment monopoly. 

A  Woman  Hater 

Altogether  unique  was  the  whim  of  a  rich  old  bachelor,  who, 
having  endured  much  from  "attempts  made  by  my  family  to  put 
me  under  the  yoke  of  matrimony,"  conceived  and  nursed  such  an 
antipathy  to  the  fair  sex  as  to  impose  upon  his  executors  the  duty 
of  carrying  out  what  is  probably  the  most  ungallant  provision  ever 
contained  in  a  will.  The  words  are  as  follows:  "I  beg  that  my 
executors  will  see  that  I  am  buried  where  there  is  no  woman  in- 
terred, either  to  the  right  or  to  the  left  of  me.  Should  this  not  be 
practicable  in  the  ordinary  course  of  things,  I  direct  that  they 
purchase  three  graves,  and  bury  me  in  the  middle  one  of  the 
three,  leaving  the  two  others  unoccupied." 

With  the  Saints  on  Bardsey  Island 

The  late  Lord  Newborough,  an  Englishman,  made  the  follow- 
ing curious  provision  in  his  will :  he  gave  most  explicit  directions 


132      ANCIENT,   CURIOUS,  AND  FAMOUS  WILLS 

that,  after  a  certain  period  had  elapsed,  his  body  was  to  be  exhumed 
and  reinterred  in  Bardsey  Island.  This  island,  it  will  be  remem- 
bered, lies  to  the  north  of  Cardigan  Bay,  and  it  is  reputed  to  have 
had  no  fewer  than  20,000  saints  buried  in  its  soil. 

With  Both  Wives 

Another  individual  desired  to  be  buried  in  the  space  between 
the  graves  of  his  first  and  second  wives ;  there  are  numerous  in- 
stances of  such  an  adjustment  in  American  cemeteries,  and  wills  are 
not  uncommon  which  provide  for  such  last  resting  places. 

Too  Modest  for  Vivisection 

The  Duchess  of  Northumberland,  widow  of  the  Protector,  con- 
cluded her  will  as  follows  : 

"In  nowise  let  me  be  opened  after  I  am  dead ;  I  have  not  used 
to  be  very  bold  before  women,  much  more  would  I  be  loth  to  come 
into  the  hands  of  any  living  man,  be  he  physician  or  surgeon." 

The  very  reverse,  we  may  remark,  of  the  instructions  given  by 
Katherine  of  Aragon  on  her  deathbed. 

Wishes  of  an  Infidel 

In  one  of  the  wildest  gorges  of  the  Blue  Ridge  in  western  North 
Carolina,  there  lived,  a  few  years  ago,  a  man  who  was  a  violent  in- 
fidel ;  when  he  died,  it  was  discovered  that  in  his  will  he  directed 
that  he  should  be  buried  on  the  summit  of  one  of  the  loftiest  peaks 
of  the  Blue  Ridge,  and  that  his  epitaph  should  disclose  that  he 
died  reviling  Christianity.  Instead  of  carrying  out  his  wishes,  his 
relatives  buried  him  in  a  Christian  cemetery,  and  on  the  spot  where 
he  desired  to  be  buried,  placed  a  large  white  cross. 

Will  of  John  Fane 

John  Fane,  of  Tunbridge,  England,  died  April  6,  1488;  his 
will  runs : 

"My  body  to  be  buried  in  the  church  of  SS.  Peter  and  Paul,  of 
Tunbridge.  .  .  .  To  the  prior  and  convent  of  Tunbridge,  to  pray 
for  my  soul,  xx  s.,  to  the  high  altar  of  the  church  of  Tunbridge, 
XX  s. ;  to  the  structure  of  the  rood-loft  thereof,  v  marks.  ...  To 
Humphrey  Fane,  my  brother's  son,  a  house  in  fee  simple,  with 
a  garden  at  the  town's  end  of  Tunbridge." 


ANCIENT,   CURIOUS,  AND  FAMOUS  WILLS      133 

Will  of  Bakhuysen  the  Painter 

Bakhuysen,  born  at  Emden,  in  1631,  died  at  Amsterdam,  in 
1709,  was  not  only  a  celebrated  painter,  but  a  skilful  engraver, 
and  a  not  inelegant  poet.  There  appears  to  have  been  a  great 
fund  of  gayety  in  his  character,  and  this  cheerfulness  did  not  for- 
sake him  even  in  his  old  age,  although  he  suffered  from  a  lingering 
disease.  Finding  his  end  approaching,  he  ordered  some  of  the 
best  possible  wine  to  be  bought,  and,  having  had  it  bottled,  sealed 
the  corks  with  his  seal ;  he  then  placed  in  a  purse  seventy-eight 
gold  coins,  having  hved  that  number  of  years,  and  by  his  will  he 
invited  the  same  number  of  friends  —  each  of  whom  he  named  — 
to  his  funeral,  begging  them  to  accept  his  money  and  drink  his  wine 
with  the  same  cordiality  with  which  he  offered  it.  We  should 
mention  that  it  is  the  custom  in  Amsterdam  to  present  a  glass  of 
wine  to  guests  attending  at  a  funeral. 

Will  of  Heemskikk 

Another  Dutch  painter,  Martin  Heemskirk,  left  by  his  will  a 
sum  to  provide  annually  a  dowry  for  a  young  girl  from  his  native 
village,  on  condition  that,  on  the  day  of  the  wedding,  the  bride  and 
bridegroom  should  come  and  dance  wdth  the  wedding-guests  upon 
his  grave.  Guy  Patin  relates  this  anecdote  as  having  occurred 
about  the  middle  of  the  seventeenth  century,  and  declares  that  the 
testator's  prescription  was  faithfully  carried  out  as  long  as  the 
foundation  lasted. 

Will  of  Francois,  Due  De  Bretagne 

In  the  will  of  Frangois,  first  duke  of  Brittany,  drawn  up  at 
Vannes,  January  22,  1449,  occurs  a  curious  clause  relating  to 
the  foundations  of  certain  masses,  and  particularly  the  mode  in 
which  the  bells  were  to  be  rung  for  them : 

"...  The  largest  bell  (sain)' oi  the  said  monastery  {moustier) 
to  be  rung  by  twelve  strokes  (gobetiez) ;  one  stroke  distant  from 
the  other  by  the  space  commonly  occupied  in  saying  an  Ave  Maria, 
and  the  whole  time  of  ringing  to  be  equivalent  to  the  time  it  may 
take  to  recite  a  pater,  a  credo,  and  a  miserere;  and  for  this  founda- 
tion we  have  appointed  to  the  said  moustier  a  revenue  of  cc  livres." 

Equally  curious,  and  very  similarly  expressed,  are  the  wills 
of  Pierre  II.,  Duke  of  Brittany,  Septembers,  1457;  Marguerite 


134      ANCIENT,   CURIOUS,  AND  FAMOUS  WILLS 

de  Bretagne,  September  22,  1469 ;  Ysabeau  of  Scotland,  Duke  of 
Brittany,  November  16,  1482;  Frangois  II.,  Duke  of  Brittany, 
September  2,  1488.  For  these  and  others  consult  the  works  of 
Barnabe  Brisson,  1585-1731. 

In  the  Shadow  of  an  Obelisk 

An  individual  desired  post-mortem  honors  in  this  wise :  "  I  desire 
to  be  buried  beneath  the  shadow  of  an  obelisk,  the  style  of  which 
has  been  taken  from  ancient  Egyptian  civilization.  I  saw  these 
wonderful  monolith  obelisks  in  Egypt,  sat  in  their  shade  and  sighed 
to  have  one  for  my  monument  in  my  far-off  home  in  the  New 
World,"  On  this  obelisk  the  following  inscription  was  directed  to 
be  placed : 

"Young  man  !  Stop  &  Think  ! 
See  what  has  been  the  reward  for  Honesty, 
Industry  &  Economy.     In  1840  I  worked  on 
Robert  Martin's  Farm  near  Jersey  Shore  for 
25  cts.  per  day.     No  fortune  left  to  me. 
Lived  and  Died  in  the  Faith  of  the  Immutable 
And  unchangeable  Laws  of  Nature  and  Nature's 
God.     Believed  in  the  Gospel  of  Peace,  Right, 
and  Justice. 

Travelled  60,000  Miles  in  America,  Europe, 
Asia  and  Africa." 

Will  of  the  Duchess  of  Kingston 

Elizabeth  Chudleigh,  Duchess  of  Kingston,  was  celebrated  for 
her  beauty,  her  eccentricities,  her  taste  for  show  and  dissipation, 
and  her  extraordinary  propensity  to  indulge  in  masculine  sports 
and  exercises,  for  her  travels  in  Italy,  Germany,  and  Russia,  and 
her  adventures  generally.  She  passed  many  years  in  Paris,  where 
she  resided  in  the  Rue  Coq-Heron,  and  died  there  28th  August,  1788. 

Her  will  is  altogether  in  accordance  with  the  remarkable  features 
of  her  character.  As  she  was  much  attached  to  Catherine  II., 
Empress  of  Russia,  who  reciprocated  her  friendship,  she  stipulated 
in  her  will  that  in  case  she  should  die  at  St.  Petersburg  she  should 
be  buried  there,  as  it  was  fitting  her  remains  should  be  there  where 
her  heart  was.  She  bequeathed  to  the  Empress  a  set  of  jewels,  and 
to  the  Pope  a  fine  briUiant ;  to  the  Countess  of  Salisbury  she  left 


ANCIENT,   CURIOUS,  AND  FAMOUS  WILLS       135 

a  pair  of  superb  earrings,  because  they  had  formerly  belonged  to 
a  countess  of  Salisbury  in  the  reign  of  Henry  IV.  Notwithstand- 
ing her  extravagance  she  left  a  fortune  of  two  million  dollars. 

Wanted  a  Costly  Mausoleum 

Elizabeth  Bastian,  a  New  York  spinster,  died  in  June,  1910. 
By  her  will  she  cut  off  her  sister  and  two  brothers  with  a  dollar  each 
and  left  the  greater  part  of  her  fortune,  $65,000,  to  build  a  mauso- 
leum in  order  that  she  might  "have  a  splendid  house  to  live  in 
when  dead."  Her  will  has  been  attacked  and  her  wishes  may  be 
thwarted. 

The  sister  and  brothers  of  the  decedent,  who  were  bequeathed 
one  dollar  each  by  her,  recently  began  an  action  in  the  Surrogate's 
Court  to  set  aside  the  probate  of  Miss  Bastian's  will  on  the  ground 
that  she  was  mentally  incompetent  at  the  time  of  its  execution. 
They  assert,  through  John  Path,  their  lawyer,  that  the  aged  spins- 
ter was  a  monomanic  who  lived  frugally  that  she  might  have  a 
magnificent  tomb  in  which  to  lie  after  death. 

This  contention,  they  claim,  is  supported  by  her  habits  in  hfe 
and  the  provisions  of  her  will.  When  ahve,  it  is  alleged,  she  de- 
lighted to  take  her  friends  to  Woodlawn  Cemetery,  where  she 
owned  a  $10,000  plot,  and  pointing  to  the  spot  would  say  :  "There's 
where  I'm  going  to  live  in  luxury  when  I  die." 

Her  will  provided  that  a  cousin  with  whom  she  lived  should 
have  $500  and  his  wife  a  like  sum.  Three  dollars  was  to  be  dis- 
tributed among  her  sister  and  brothers,  "because  I  have  been 
treated  with  abject  scorn  by  my  relatives,"  and  $50,000  was  set 
aside  for  the  mausoleum.  The  rest  of  the  New  York  estate  was 
left  in  trust  to  the  Woodlawn  Cemetery  Association  to  ornament 
and  care  for  the  mausoleum. 

Bequests  of  Skulls 

Many  testators  have  bequeathed  their  skulls  to  their  friends  or 
to  public  institutions. 

Cartouche  requested,  when  on  the  wheel,  that  his  skull  might 
be  preserved  in  the  Genovevan  monastery  at  Paris,  and  accord- 
ingly it  is  to  be  seen  to  this  day  in  the  library  of  that  building,  as 
Eugene  Aram's  skull  is  daily  seen  and  handled  in  York  Castle. 

Professor  Morlet  of  Lausanne  desired  that  his  head  should  be 
sent  to  the  anatomical   museum  of  Berne,  and  he  particularly 


136      ANCIENT,   CURIOUS,   AND  FAMOUS  WILLS 

requested  his  name  should  be  distinctly  engraven  thereon,  lest  it 
should  be  mistaken  for  that  of  any  other  individual. 

Professor  Byrd  Powell,  phj^nologist  and  physician,  bequeathed 
to  one  of  his  lady  pupils,  Mrs,'  Kinsey  of  Cincinnati,  his  "head  to 
be  removed  from  his  body  for  her  use,  by  Mr.  H.  T.  Kekeler." 
The  task  of  decapitation  was,  however,  performed  (some  weeks 
after  the  body  had  been  relegated  to  the  vault)  by  Dr.  Curtis. 

John  Reed  was  gas-lighter  of  the  Walnut  Street  Theatre,  at 
Philadelphia,  and  filled  this  post  for  forty-four  years,  with  a  punctu- 
ality and  fidelity  rarely  equalled ;  there  is  not  on  record  a  single 
representation  at  which  he  was  not  present.  John  Reed  was  some- 
what of  a  character,  and  appears  to  have  had  his  mute  ambitions. 
As  he  never  aspired,  however,  to  appear  on  the  stage  in  his  lifetime, 
he  imagined  an  ingenious  device  for  assuming  a  role  in  one  of 
Shakespeare's  plays  after  his  decease ;  it  was  not  the  ghost  of  Polo- 
nius,  nor  yet  the  handkerchief  of  Desdemona  —  no ;  it  was  the 
skull  in  Hamlet,  and  to  this  end  he  wrote  a  clause  in  his  will  thus  : 
"My  head  to  be  separated  from  my  body  immediately  after  my 
death ;  the  latter  to  be  buried  in  a  grave ;  the  former,  duly  macer- 
ated and  prepared,  to  be  brought  to  the  theatre,  where  I  have 
served  all  my  life,  and  to  be  employed  to  represent  the  skull  of 
Yorick  —  and  to  this  end  I  bequeath  my  head  to  the  properties." 

Will  of  John  Redman 

The  last  will  of  John  Redman,  who  died  in  1798,  citizen  of  the 
world,  of  Upminster,  in  Essex.  "...  My  body  to  be  buried  in  the 
ground  in  Bunhill  Fields,  where  my  grandfather.  Captain  John 
Redman,  of  the  navy,  in  Queen  Anne's  reign,  lies  interred.  My 
grave  to  be  ten  feet  deep,  neither  gravestone,  atchment  (sic), 
escutcheon,  mutes,  nor  porters  at  the  door,  to  be  performed  at 
seven  o'clock  in  the  morning.  .  ,  .  All  my  wine  to  be  drunk  on 
the  premises,  or  to  be  shared  by  and  between  my  four  executors. 
.  .  .  Tylehurst  Lodge  farm,  ...  I  devise  to  the  eldest  son  of 
my  second  cousin,  Mr.  Benjamin  Branfill,  on  condition  that  he,  the 
eldest  son,  takes  the  name  of  Redman,  or  to  his  second  or  third 
son  if  the  others  decline  it.  It  is  hereby  enjoined  to  the  Branfills 
to  keep  the  owner's  apartment  and  land  in  hand  to  be  a  check 
on  shuffling  sharping  tenants,  who  are  much  disposed  to  impoverish 
the  land.  .  .  .  Having  provided  handsomely  for  my  daughter, 
Mary  Smith  Ord,  on  her  marriage  with  Craven  Ord  of  the  Curse- 


ANCIENT,   CURIOUS,  AND  FAMOUS  WILLS       137 

tor's  Office,  London,  I  hereby  bequeath  to  her  children  born  or  to 
be  born  (the  eldest  son  excepted,  whose  father  will  provide  for  him), 
the  sum  of  two  thousand  pounds  to  each  of  them  at  the  age  of 
one-and-twenty,  for  which  purpose  I  bequeath  all  my  valuable 
estates  at  Greensted  and  Ongar,  late  Rebotiers.  .  .  .  Holding 
my  executors  in  such  esteem,  I  desire  them  to  pay  all  the  legacies 
without  the  wicked  swindling  and  base  imposition  of  stamps  that 
smell  of  blood  and  carnage.  .  .  .  To  Mr.  French  of  Harpur  Street, 
...  a  set  of  Tom  Paine's  'Rights  of  Man,'  bound  with  common 
sense,  with  the  answers  intended  by  the  longheads  of  the  law, 
fatheads  of  the  Church,  and  wiseheads  of  an  insolent  usurping 
aristocracy.  .  .  .  To  that  valuable  friend  of  his  country  in  the 
worst  of  times,  Charles  Fox,  Member  for  Westminster,  five  hun- 
dred guineas.  To  each  of  the  daughters  of  Home  Tooke,  five 
hundred  pounds." 

CODICIL 

"  I  desire  and  direct  my  executors  to  keep  my  dwelling-house  on  for 
at  least  a  year  after  my  decease,  and  also  the  same  with  my  house 
in  Essex ;  and  I  do  recommend  them  to  visit  Greensted  Hall  at 
least  six  times  in  that  year,  and  to  stop  from  Saturday  to  Monday 
morning ;  to  hire  a  light  coach  and  an  able  pair  of  horses,  set  out 
betimes,  and  breakfast  on  the  road,  alternately  to  take  one  of  their 
families,  that  each  corner  may  be  filled  to  help  drink  out  the  wine 
in  the  vault.  The  same  to  be  observed  in  Hatton  Garden.  Ex- 
ecutors to  order  a  dinner  for  themselves  half-score  times,  to  consult 
and  consider  the  business  they  have  in  hand,  and  not  to  spare  the 
wine  in  that  cellar,  and  the  remainder  at  last  to  be  divided  between 
them  and  carried  to  their  respective  houses." 

This  will  is  taken  from  a  volume  published  for  county  circulation 
by  Philip  John  Budworth,  M.A.,  J. P.,  and  D.L.,  for  the  county  of 
Essex,  and  entitled,  "Memorials  of  the  Parishes  of  Greensted  — 
Budworth,  Chipping  Ongar,  and  High  Laver." 

Will  of  a  Bruxellois 

A  wealthy  individual  of  Brussels,  who  died  in  July,  1824,  ordered 
by  his  will  that  his  body  should  be  buried  in  the  least  expensive 
manner  possible ;  and  that  the  funeral  service  should  be  that  known 
as  "third-class ; "  but  that  the  difference  between  this  and  a  "first- 
class"  funeral  should  be  computed,  and  the  sum  laid  out  in  a  thou- 
sand loaves,  to  be  distributed  to  the  poor  of  his  parish  on  the  day 


138      ANCIENT,   CURIOUS,   AND  FAMOUS  WILLS 

of  his  funeral,  and  a  plaquette  (value  6^  sous)  to  be  given  with 
each  loaf. 

Burial  Customs  in  Austria 

In  the  Austrian  capital,  Vienna,  the  undertakers  have  most  suc- 
cessfully introduced  the  custom  of  dressing  up  the  dead  in  satins, 
laces,  and  flowers,  supplying  appropriate  costumes  for  maids, 
brides,  wives,  widows,  with  couches  en  suite,  and  decorations  for 
the  chamber  of  death,  which  is  brilliantly  illuminated,  while  the 
corpse,  with  face  painted  in  the  hues  of  health,  lies  there  raised  on 
satin  pillows  to  receive  the  visits  of  a  crowd  of  friends.  All  is  done 
with  great  expedition,  for  the  law  only  allows  a  delay  of  twenty- 
four  hours  between  the  death  and  burial,  and  all  this  finery  has  to 
be  removed  after  the  family  and  friends  have  done  looking  at  it, 
and  to  be  replaced  by  such  grave-clothes  as  the  undertaker  chooses 
to  exchange  for  it  beneath  the  coffin-lid. 

Buried  in  a  Trunk 

A  very  singular  will  was  opened,  on  the  8th  of  October,  1877, 
in  the  office  of  Maitre  Robillart,  a  notary  of  Paris.  It  was  that  of 
a  Sieur  Benoit,  formerly  residing  at  Rue  des  Gravillers,  and  lately 
deceased.     The  last  clause  of  it  was  thus  worded : 

"I  expressly  and  formally  desire  that  my  remains  may  be  en- 
closed for  burial  in  my  large  leather  trunk,  instead  of  putting  my 
survivors  to  the  expense  of  a  coffin.  I  am  attached  to  that  trunk, 
which  has  gone  round  the  world  with  me  three  times." 

Strange  Will  of  Jeremy  Bentham 

Jeremy  Bentham  died  in  1832.  He  was  an  English  jurist, 
philosopher  and  writer  of  great  ability.  In  his  latter  years  he 
desired  that  his  preserved  figure  might  be  placed  in  a  chair  at  the 
banquet-table  of  his  friends  and  disciples  when  they  met  on  any 
great  occasions  of  philosophy  and  philanthropy.  He  died,  and  his 
wish  was  carefully  carried  out  by  his  favorite  disciple,  the  late 
Dr.  Southwood  Smith,  to  whom  he  bequeathed  his  body  in  his  will. 
Dressed  in  his  usual  clothes,  wearing  a  gray  broad-brimmed  hat, 
and  with  his  old  hazel  walking-stick,  called  Dapple  (after  a  favorite 
old  horse),  the  farmer-like  figure  of  the  benevolent  philosopher 
sat  in  a  large  armchair,  with  a  smiling,  fresh-colored  countenance. 


ANCIENT,   CURIOUS,   AND  FAMOUS  WILLS      139 

locked  up  In  a  mahogany  case  with  a  plate-glass  front.  This  was 
his  actual  body  preserved  by  some  scientific  process.  A  French 
artist  made  a  wax  mask.     The  real  face  was  underneath  it. 

The  body  of  Bentham  was  some  years  ago  removed  to  Uni- 
versity College,  and  placed  in  an  out-of-the-way  corner,  and  "Old 
Bentham  "  was  the  subject  of  frequent  jokes  among  the  more 
thoughtless  of  the  students. 

This  is  what  Dr.  Southwood  Smith  says  on  the  subject : 
"Jeremy  Bentham,"  writes  Dr.  Southwood  Smith,  "left  by 
will  his  body  to  me  for  dissection.  I  was  also  to  deliver  a  public 
lecture  over  it  to  medical  students  and  the  public  generally.  The 
latter  I  did  at  Well  Street  School.  After  the  usual  anatomical 
demonstration  a  skeleton  was  made  of  the  bones.  I  endeavoured 
to  preserve  the  head  untouched,  merely  drawing  away  the  fluids  by 
placing  it  under  an  air-pump  over  sulphuric  acid.  By  this  means 
the  head  was  rendered  as  hard  as  the  skulls  of  the  New  Zealanders, 
but  all  expression  was  gone,  of  course.  Seeing  this  would  not  do 
for  exhibition,  I  had  a  model  made  in  wax  by  a  distinguished  French 
artist.  I  then  had  the  skeleton  stuffed  out  to  fit  Bentham's  own 
clothes,  and  this  wax  likeness  fitted  to  the  trunk.  The  whole  was 
then  enclosed  in  a  mahogany  case  with  folding  glass  doors,  seated 
in  his  armchair,  and  holding  in  his  hand  his  favourite  walking-stick, 
and  for  some  years  it  remained  in  a  room  of  my  house  in  Finsbury 
Square.  But  I  ultimately  gave  it  to  University  College,  where  it 
now  is." 

A  Capricious  Bequest  of  Sixpences 

A  curious  custom  has  existed  from  time  almost  immemorial 
at  St.  Bartholomew's  the  Great,  Smithfield,  in  the  churchyard, 
which  is  the  oldest  in  the  city.  Its  anniversary  is  Good  Friday, 
on  which  day  the  incumbent  is  enjoined,  by  the  will  of  a  lady  who 
left  a  foundation  for  the  purpose,  to  lay  down  twenty-one  sixpences 
in  a  row  on  a  particular  gravestone,  whence  they  are  to  be  picked 
up  by  as  many  widows,  kneeling,  having  first  attended  a  sermon 
which  is  to  be  preached  on  the  occasion. 

Letters  and  Portraits  in  her  Coffin 

Many  persons  have  a  singular  mode  of  disposing  of  objects 
for  which  they  have  too  great  a  regard  to  destroy,  or  even 
order  them  after  their  death  to  be  destroyed,  and  as  a  sort  of  half- 


140      ANCIENT,   CURIOUS,  AND  FAMOUS  WILLS 

measure,  desire  that  they  may  be  buried  with  them.  Not  long 
since  a  lady  died,  who  being  fondly  attached  to  a  brother  she  had 
lost,  had  his  portrait,  in  a  ponderous  gilt  frame  (which  she  always 
carried  about  with  her  when  she  travelled),  placed  in  her  coffin 
at  her  death. 

Actuated  by  a  similar  sentiment,  Mrs.  Anna  Margaret  Birk- 
beck,  of  Inverness  Terrace  (who  died  July  2,  1877,  and  whose  will 
and  two  codicils,  dated  January,  1868,  were  proved  on  29th  of  July, 
1877),  directs  that  the  letters  of  her  late  daughters,  of  her  late  son, 
and  of  her  late  husband,  both  before  and  after  her  marriage,  be 
buried  with  her. 

Will  of  L.  Cortusio,  Jurisconsultus  of  Padua 

We  are  indebted  to  several  sources  for  the  following  testamen- 
tary document :  mention  is  made  of  it  by  the  celebrated  Paolo 
de  Castro;  by  Scardeon,  who  gives  it  more  in  detail  in  his  "Vies 
des  Jurisconsultes  de  Padoue,"  book  ii.,  chap.  viii. ;  in  P.  Ga- 
rasse's  "Doctrine  Curieuse,"  page  912;  and  in  Dreux  de  Radier's 
"Recreations  Historiques,"  tome  i.,  page  232. 

By  his  last  will  and  testament,  the  testator  in  question,  Messer 
Lodovico  Cortusio,  forbids  any  of  his  friends  and  relatives  to  weep 
at  his  funeral.  He  among  them  who  shall  be  found  so  weeping 
shall  be  disinlierited  ;  while,  on  the  other  hand,  he  who  shall  laugh 
most  heartily  shall  be  his  principal  heir  and  universal  legatee. 
It  would  have  been  superfluous  to  address  to  such  a  man  Young's 
apostrophe  — 

"Lorenzo,  hast  thou  ever  weighed  a  sigh, 
Or  studied  the  philosophy  of  tears  ?  " 

It  is  quite  evident  he  appreciated  their  value. 

The  testator  next  prohibits  that  his  house  or  the  church  in  which 
he  is  to  be  buried  should  be  hung  with  black,  desiring,  on  the  con- 
trary, that  it  shall  be  strewn  with  flowers  and  green  branches  on 
the  day  of  his  funeral.  While  his  body  should  be  borne  to  the 
church,  he  ordered  that  music  should  take  the  place  of  tolling 
bells.  All  the  musicians  (or  minstrels)  of  the  town  were  to  be  in- 
vited to  his  burial,  however,  the  number  was  to  be  limited  to  fifty, 
and  were  to  walk  with  the  clergy,  so  many  to  precede,  and  so  many 
to  follow  the  body,  and  they  were  to  make  the  air  ring  with  the 
sound  of  lutes,  violins,  flutes,  hautboys,  trumpets,  tambourines. 


ANCIENT,   CURIOUS,   AND   FAMOUS  WILLS      141 

and  other  musical  instruments ;  the  performance  was  to  wind  up 
with  a  hallelujah  as  for  an  Easter  rejoicing,  and  for  their  services 
each  was  to  receive  the  pay  of  half-a-crown.  The  body,  enclosed 
in  a  bier  covered  with  a  cloth  of  divers  colors  which  were  to  be 
bright  and  striking,  was  to  be  carried  by  twelve  young  girls  habited 
in  green,  who  were  to  sing  cheerful  and  lively  songs.  To  each  of 
them  the  testator  bequeathed  a  certain  sum  as  her  dowry.  Young 
boys  and  girls  were  to  accompany  the  procession  carrying  branches 
or  palms,  and  were  to  wear  on  their  heads  crowns  of  flowers,  while 
their  voices  were  to  join  in  chorus  with  those  of  the  bearers.  All 
the  clergy  belonging  to  the  church,  attended  by  a  hundred  torch- 
bearers,  were  to  precede  the  procession,  with  all  the  monks  in  the 
town,  except  those  whose  habit  was  black  —  the  express  desire 
of  the  testator  being  either  that  they  should  wear  a  light-colored 
costume  or  refrain  from  attending,  in  order  not  to  sadden  the 
spectacle  by  an  appearance  of  mourning.  The  executor  appointed 
by  this  singular  testator  was  solemnly  charged  to  carry  out  all 
these  directions  in  their  fullest  detail,  or  was  to  have  no  participa- 
tion in  the  beneficial  clauses  of  the  will.  Ludovico  Cortusio  died 
on  July  17,  1418,  Festival  of  St.  Alexis.  Strange  to  say,  his  wishes 
were  conscientiously  complied  with.  He  was  buried  in  the  church 
of  Sta.  Sophia,  at  Padua,  the  ceremony  having  the  appearance 
rather  of  a  wedding  than  of  a  funeral. 

Will  of  a  Conjurer 

An  individual  exercising  the  calling  of  a  conjurer  at  Rochdale, 
named  Clegg,  made  a  humorous  will,  in  which  he  desired  that, 
if  he  should  escape  hanging,  and  should  die  a  natural  death  within 
two  miles  of  Shaw  Chapel,  his  executors,  of  whom  he  named  two, 
should  assemble  threescore  of  the  truest  of  his  friends  —  not  to  in- 
clude any  woman,  nor  yet  man  whose  avocations  compel  him  to 
wear  a  white  cap  or  an  apron,  nor  any  man  in  the  habit  of  taking 
snuff  or  using  tobacco.  Four  fiddles  were  to  attend,  and  the  com- 
pany were  to  make  merry  and  to  dance.  For  the  refreshment  of 
the  guests  were  to  be  provided  sixty-two  spiced  buns  and  twenty 
shillings'  worth  of  the  best  ale. 

The  body,  dressed  in  his  "roast-meat"  (or  Sunday)  clothes,  was 
to  be  laid  on  a  bier  in  the  midst.  As  each  guest  arrived,  sprigs  of 
gorse,  holly,  and  rosemary  were  to  be  distributed,  and  each  was  to 
receive  a  cake ;  then  all  were  to  make  merry  for  a  couple  of  hours. 


142      ANCIENT,   CURIOUS,   AND  FAMOUS  WILLS 

The  musicians  were  then  to  play,  in  Hvely  time,  the  tune  of 
"Britons,  strike  home,"  while  glasses  of  gin  were  being  handed 
round  to  the  company ;  after  this  the  fiddlers,  repeating  the  said 
tune,  were  to  head  the  cortege,  the  guests  to  follow  two-and-two,  the 
whole  being  closed  by  the  curate  riding  upon  an  ass,  for  which  ser- 
vice he  was  to  receive  a  fee  of  one  guinea.  No  one  was  on  any 
account  to  indulge  in  tears ;  and,  as  soon  as  the  coffin  had  been 
covered  over,  they  were  to  repair  to  the  public-house  at  which  the 
departed  had  been  best  known,  and  there  to  eat  and  drink  as  they 
pleased  to  the  amount  of  thirty  shillings,  to  be  defrayed  by  the 
"estate." 

No  Tombstone  Honors 

The  late  Jesse  H.  Griffen  of  Yorktown,  New  York,  who  was  a 
prominent  citizen  of  that  part  of  the  State,  drew  his  will  on  a  bill- 
head. Among  other  provisions  were  these :  "  I  desire  that  my 
corpse  be  put  in  a  plain  walnut  coffin  and  carried  in  an  ordinary 
spring  wagon,  and  that  no  tombstone  be  erected  where  my  mortal 
remains  are  deposited.  I  notice  that  people  in  moderate  circum- 
stances are  often  distressed  by  expensive  displays  at  funerals,  and 
tombstone  honors  are  a  truer  indication  of  the  vanity  of  survivors 
than  of  the  virtues  of  the  dead." 


Will  of  Philippe  Bouton 

Philippe  Bouton,  bailli  of  Dijon,  dying  in  1515,  desired  by  his 
will  that  fourteen  girls  should  be  found,  who,  being  clothed  in  green 
cloth,  —  that  hue  being  sacred  to  hope,  —  should  attend  at  his  obse- 
quies, and  at  all  the  services  consequent  thereon.  He  was  buried 
in  the  church  of  Corberon. 


Will  of  Charles  Bouton  (of  Poitou) 

"  I,  Charles  Bouton,  Seigneur  of  Fay,  desire  by  this  my  will  and 
testament,  that  after  my  death  the  sacristans  of  Louhaus  shall  throw 
over  my  coffin  a  white  winding-sheet,  that  they  shall  recite  the 
psalter  before  carrying  it  into  the  church ;  that  they  shall  have 
my  body  carried  into  the  Church  of  St.  Peter  of  Louhaus,  where  it 
shall  repose  one  night ;  that  on  the  following  morning  it  shall  be 
placed  on  a  waggon,  such  as  those  used  for  carting  manure,  and 
borne  to  my  chapel  of  Fay  and  deposited  within  its  charnel-house, 


ANCIENT,   CURIOUS,  AND  FAMOUS  WILLS      143 

there  to  be  left  without  any  other  light  than  that  of  four  small 
tapers,  each  weighing  half-a-pound." 

This  testator  does  not  appear  to  have  been  in  any  way  related  to 
the  Phihppe  Bouton  cited  above  :  he  died  in  1532. 


Will  of  an  English  Farmer 

A  Hertfordshire  farmer  inserted  in  his  will  his  written  wish  that 
"as  he  was  about  to  take  a  thirty  years'  nap,  his  coffin  might  be 
suspended  from  a  beam  in  his  barn,  and  by  no  means  nailed  down," 
He,  however,  permitted  it  to  be  locked,  provided  a  hole  were  made  in 
the  side  through  which  the  key  might  be  pushed,  so  that  he  might 
let  himself  out  when  he  awoke.  However,  as  his  death  took  place 
in  1720,  and  in  1750  he  showed  no  signs  of  waking,  his  nephew, 
who  inherited  his  property,  after  allowing  him  one  year's  grace, 
caused  a  hole  to  be  dug  and  had  the  coffin  put  into  it. 

Will  of  M.  Helloin,  Juge  de  Paix 

This  gentleman,  well  known  as  a  magistrate,  and  residing  on  his 
own  landed  property,  close  to  Caen,  in  Normandy,  France,  died  in 
the  month  of  June,  1828.  He  was  of  eccentric  habits,  and  of  the 
calmest  and  most  placid  disposition.  Nothing  was  ever  known  to 
ruffle  his  equanimity  or  to  disturb  the  repose  and  tranquillity  of 
his  domestic  arrangements.  He  lived  and  died  unmarried,  and 
passed  his  life  either  reclining  on  a  couch  or  lying  in  bed.  Even 
when  exercising  his  judicial  functions  he  maintained  this  recum- 
bent attitude ;  his  bedroom  became  his  audience-chamber,  and  he 
gave  judgment  in  a  horizontal  position,  his  body  lazily  stretched  out, 
and  his  head  thrown  back  on  a  down  pillow.  This  luxurious  life, 
however,  did  not  suffice  to  protect  him  from  the  inevitable  lot  of 
mortals ;  and  M.  Helloin,  in  due  time,  felt  that  his  end  was  not  far 
off.  Under  these  circumstances  he  made  his  will,  apparently  with 
the  intention  of  proving  his  fidelity  to  his  traditions,  for  he  decreed 
thereby  that  "he  should  be  buried  at  night,  in  his  bed,  and  in  the 
position  in  which  death  should  surprise  him  —  viz.,  with  his 
mattress,  sheets,  blankets,  pillows  —  and,  in  short,  all  that  consti- 
tuted the  belongings  of  a  bedstead."  As  there  was  some  difficulty 
in  carrying  out  such  a  clause,  an  enormous  pit  was  dug,  and  the 
deceased  was  lowered  into  his  last  resting-place  exactly  as  he  had 
died,  nothing  around  or  about  him  having  been  altered.     Boards 


144      ANCIENT,   CURIOUS,  AND  FAMOUS  WILLS 

were  placed  above  the  bedstead,  in  order  that  the  earth,  when 
filled  in  again,  should  not  trouble  the  repose  of  this  imperturbable 
Quietist. 

His  Ashes  improved  the  Fishing 

A  German  gentleman,  who  was  a  member  of  a  New  York  fishing 
club,  in  his  will  requested  his  fellow-fishermen,  after  cremating  his 
body,  to  throw  his  ashes  into  the  sea  on  the  shoals  of  New  York 
Bay,  where  he  had  often  fished.  The  will  was  carried  out  to  the 
letter.  Although  it  cannot  be  asserted  that  the  ashes  attracted 
the  fish,  the  fishermen  related  that  when  they  again  threw  out  their 
lines  where  they  had  sprinkled  the  remains  of  their  deceased  friend, 
they  made  an  exceptionally  large  catch. 

Buried  in  his  Bed 

The  Reverend  Langton  Freeman,  rector  of  Bilton,  Northampton- 
shire, England,  desired  in  his  will  that  his  body  should  be  left 
undisturbed  on  the  bed  whereon  he  died  till  it  could  no  longer  be 
kept,  that  it  was  then  to  be  carried,  bed  and  all,  decently  and 
privately  to  the  summer-house  in  his  own  private  garden  at  Whilton. 
The  bed  with  the  body  on  it  was  then  to  be  wrapped  in  a  strong 
double  winding-sheet,  and  to  be  treated  in  all  respects  as  was  the 
body  of  our  Lord.  The  doors  and  windows  of  the  summer-house 
were  then  to  be  secured,  and  the  building  planted  round  with 
evergreens  and  fenced  with  dark-blue  palings.  This  eccentric  will 
was  conscientiously  obeyed.  The  fence  and  even  the  trees  have 
now  disappeared,  and  the  summer-house  is  in  ruins.  Some  years 
ago  an  entrance  was  effected  through  the  roof,  and  the  deceased 
was  found  completely  mummified,  without  any  wrappers,  one  arm 
lying  down  by  the  side,  the  other  across  the  chest. 

Will  of  a  New  York  Spinster 

A  spinster  of  New  York  desired  that  all  the  money  she  should 
die  possessed  of,  might  be  employed  in  building  a  church  in  her  na- 
tive city,  but  stipulated  that  her  remains  should  be  mixed  up  in  the 
mortar  used  for  fixing  the  first  stone. 

Will  of  a  Rich  Jewess 

A  rich  Jewess  residing  in  London  died  in  1794.  Having  all  her 
days  regretted  not  to  have  passed  her  life  in  the  ancient  and  cele- 


ANCIENT,  CURIOUS,  AND  FAMOUS  WILLS      145 

brated  city  illustrated  by  the  presence  and  the  great  deeds  of  David, 
Solomon,  the  prophets,  the  Maccabees,  and  others,  she  resolved 
that  at  all  events  her  mortal  remains  should  await  there  the  day  of 
their  resurrection.  She  accordingly  ordered  by  her  will  that  her 
body  should  be  carried  from  England  to  Jerusalem,  to  be  buried 
there.  Two  of  her  coreligionists  established  in  London  were 
chosen  by  her  to  accompany  her  body  and  fulfil  her  last  wishes ; 
these  gentlemen  were  gratified  each  with  a  legacy  of  four  hundred 
pounds  to  pay  their  expenses. 


Robert  Fabyan 

There  are  some  extremely  curious  and  valuable  clauses  in  this 
will  which  would  be  too  long  to  transcribe,  and  probably  tedious  to 
the  majority  of  readers.  It  is  dated  1511.  Those  who  wish  to 
read  it  in  its  entirety  are  referred  to  vol.  ii.,  "Testamenta  Vetusta," 
page  498. 

We  will  confine  ourselves  to  a  portion  of  his  instructions  for  his 
"little  tumbe  of  freestone,  upon  the  which  I  will  be  spent  liij  s.  iv  d. 
att  the  moast;  and  in  the  face  of  this  tumbe  I  will  be  made  too 
plates  of  laten,  ii  figurys  of  a  man  and  a  woman,  with  x  men  chil- 
dren and  vi  women  children ;  and  over  and  above  the  said  figurys  I 
will  be  made  a  figure  of  the  Fader  of  Heven,  inclosed  in  a  sonne ; 
and  from  the  man  figure  I  will  be  made  a  rolle  toward  the  said  figure 
of  the  Fader,  and  in  hit  to  be  graven,  '  O  Pater  in  coelis  ; '  and  from 
the  figure  of  the  woman  another  lyke  rolle,  whereyn  to  be  graven, 
*  Hos  tecum  pascere  vehs ; '  and  at  the  feet  of  the  said  figurys  I 
will  be  graven  thes  ix  verses  folowing  : 

" '  Preterit  ista  dies  origo  secundi 
An  labor,  an  requies ;  sic  transit  gloria  mundi. 
Like  as  the  day  hys  cours  doetli  consume 
And  the  new  morrow  spryngith  agayn  as  fast. 
So  man  and  woman  by  naturys  costume 
This  lyfe  doo  pass  and  last  in  erth  ar  cast 
In  joye  and  sorrowe  in  whiche  here  theyr  tyme  did  wast 
Never  in  oon  state  but  in  co's  transitorey 
Soo  full  of  chaunge  is  of  this  wo  ride  the  glory.' 


"And  before  upon  the  said  tumbys  border  I  will  be  written  these 
words  following : 


146      ANCIENT,   CURIOUS,  AND  FAMOUS  WILLS 

" '  Tumulus  Roberti  Fabyan  dudum  pannarius  ac  Aldermannus 
London  qui  obiit.  .  .  .     Fevr.  .  .  .'" 

The  above  directions  were  to  be  followed  in  the  event  of  the 
testator's  dying  and  being  buried  "within  the  Citye  of  London," 
but  if  buried  in  the  church  of  Heydon  Earnon,  the  grave  is  to 
be  much  more  elaborately  decorated,  according  to  instructions 
further  given  to  his  executors,  who  can  have  had  no  sinecure,  for 
this  same  alderman-draper  seems  to  have  been  possessed  of  con- 
siderable landed  and  other  property. 

We  find  it  throughout  all  these  earlier  wills  the  custom  to  be- 
queath not  only  beds  with  all  their  furniture,  but  wearing  apparel, 
which  in  those  days  were  so  costly  as  to  be  considered  valuable  heir- 
looms ;  probably  also  the  fashion  of  these  articles  did  not  undergo 
such  rapid  changes  as  in  our  own  day. 

An  Exacting  and  Peculiar  Will 

After  an  eventful  life  as  soldier,  linguist,  "  rain-maker,"  Deputy 
Commissioner  of  Patents,  man  of  affairs,  and  wealthy  patent  attor- 
ney, Robert  G.  Dryenforth,  of  Washington,  D.C.,  died  July  4, 
1910.  His  will  is  one  of  the  most  unusual  instruments  ever  offered 
for  probate  in  the  United  States :  his  estate  is  a  large  one  and  is 
left  to  an  eight-year-old  foster  son,  Robert  St.  George  Dryenforth, 
subject  to  conditions  of  a  remarkable  character : 

The  lad  is  to  get  practically  the  entire  estate  —  provided  he 
conscientiously  complies  with  all  conditions  —  when  he  reaches 
the  age  of  twenty-eight.  Robert  St.  George  will  be  busily  occupied 
for  the  intervening  twenty  years  in  complying  with  conditions. 

Here  are  some  of  them. 

He  must  not  associate  with  one  Jennie  Dryenforth  or  her  daugh- 
ter, Rose  Marie  Knowlton.  Should  he  do  so,  the  estate  goes  to 
William  H.,  Harold  and  Robert  Dryenforth,  who  are  named  as 
executors. 

The  above-named  executors  will  also  share  the  estate  in  the  event 
Robert  St.  George  thoughtlessly  dies  before  he  reaches  the  given  age. 

The  boy  must  be  trained  right  from  the  start  to  shy  at  the  wiles 
of  women.     If  he  must  marry,  he  must  not  marry  beneath  him. 

The  will  says : 

"I  particularly  request  my  executors  to  thoughtfully  and  well 
guard  my  beloved  son  from  women,  and  sensibly,  that  is,  gradually. 


ANCIENT,   CURIOUS,   AND  FAMOUS  WILLS      147 

through  no  erratic  extreme,  to  let  him  be  informed  and  know  the 
artful  and  parasitical  nature  of  most  of  the  unfortunate  sex,  and  to 
care  that  he  does  not  marry  beneath  him." 

The  lad  must  keep  his  face  between  the  covers  of  a  book  for  a  great 
portion  of  these  twenty  years.  He  will  become  a  confirmed  burner 
of  the  midnight  oil.  Here  is  the  programme,  duly  mapped  out  in 
the  will : 

He  must  be  prepared  to  enter  high  school  at  the  age  of  fourteen. 

At  the  age  of  eighteen  he  must  be  ready  to  enter  Harvard,  there 
to  take  a  special  course  fitting  him  for  Oxford  University. 

In  the  meantime,  the  boy  must  be  taken  to  see  one  country  in 
Europe  each  year. 

As  soon  as  he  graduates  from  Oxford,  the  boy  is  to  hasten 
back  to  these  shores  and  to  enter  immediately  the  United  States 
Military  Academy,  complete  the  course  and  serve  the  required 
time  in  the  army. 

After  he  has  well  and  patiently  performed  these  preliminary 
tasks,  the  young  man  is  then  required  to  take  up  the  practice  of 
law,  at  which  profession  he  may  while  his  time  away  until  he  reaches 
the  twenty-eighth  milestone.  Upon  that  happy  and  long-delayed 
day,  the  executors  will  take  an  inventory,  and  if  the  stewardship  of 
Robert  St.  George  has  been  good,  he  will  receive  talents  an  hundred 
fold. 

Scattered  about  through  the  will  are  minor  restrictions,  having 
to  do  with  the  boy's  religion  and  habits.  The  lad  must  be  reared  a 
Protestant  Episcopalian.  He  will  have  no  difficulty  whatever  in 
picking  his  faith,  his  father  having  attended  to  this  detail  before 
he  departed  this  life. 

In  no  event  is  the  boy  to  be  permitted  to  become  a  Catholic, 
and  the  executors  are  further  charged  with  the  duty  of  seeing  that 
the  late  Lawyer  Dryenforth's  remains  are  not  interred  in  a  Catholic 
cemetery  nor  in  Arlington. 

A  graduating  scale  of  allowances  for  the  boy's  maintenance  also 
has  been  carefully  worked  out  in  the  will.  Until  he  is  twelve  years 
of  age  Robert  St.  George  must  not  overdraw  an  account  of  $50 
monthly.  After  that  age,  $1000  yearly  is  set  aside  for  his  support 
and  education.  Later,  the  amount  is  to  be  increased  to  $1500 
per  year,  which  will  help  some  in  event  Robert  St.  George  is  not  im- 
mediately retained  by  some  of  the  big  corporations  as  soon  as  he 
hangs  out  his  shingle  as  a  lawyer. 


148      ANCIENT,   CURIOUS,  AND  FAMOUS  WILLS 

Dame  Maud  De  Say 

Dame  Maud,  daughter  of  Guy,  Earl  of  Warwick,  widow  of 
Geoffrey,  Lord  Say,  Admiral  of  the  King's  Fleet,  died  Tuesday 
next  after  the  Feast  of  the  Apostles  Simon  and  Jude,  1369.  Her 
will  recites : 

"My  body  to  be  buried  in  the  Church  of  the  Friars  Preachers 
of  London,  near  Edmond,  my  loving  husband;  to  the  Friars 
there  X  pounds,  and  I  desire  that  no  feast  be  made  on  my 
funeral  day,  but  that  immediately  after  my  decease  my  corpse 
shall  be  carried  to  burial,  covered  only  with  a  linen  cloth,  having 
a  red  cross  thereon,  with  two  tapers,  one  at  the  head  and  an- 
other at  the  feet." 

A  Mother's  Pathetic  Affection 

A  lady,  who  was  a  singularly  affectionate  mother,  lost  two  of  her 
children,  one  aged  three,  the  other  five ;  their  remains  were  carried 
with  the  usual  ceremonies  to  the  family  vault,  but  she  found  it  im- 
possible to  part  with  them,  and  having  obtained  the  permission  of 
the  clergyman  to  have  them  exhumed,  she  had  the  two  little  coffins 
carried  back  to  the  house,  and  glass  lids  made  to  them.  They  were 
kept  in  a  room  set  apart  for  the  purpose,  and  remained  there  until 
her  death  —  a  period  of  a  quarter  of  a  century.  On  that  event 
they  were  again  buried  by  one  of  her  sons,  a  clergyman,  who,  having 
been  born  long  after  their  death,  used  to  remark:  "There  was 
not  probably  another  clergyman  who  could  say  he  had  buried  two 
people  who  died  before  he  was  born." 

Will  of  Mr.  Greftulke 

An  individual  named  Greftulke,  who  entertained  a  great  dread 
of  being  buried  alive,  added  to  his  will  this  clause  :  "I  do  not  wish 
to  be  buried ;  but  desire  that  my  body  be  embalmed,  and  placed  in 
a  coffin,  the  lid  of  which  shall  be  glazed ;  also  I  desire  it  be  not 
nailed  down,  so  that  my  body  may  not  be  deprived  of  air  and  light. 
Ultimately  it  may  be  buried,  if  the  law  permit." 

This  will  was  proved  October,  1867,  and  signed  John  Louis 
Greftulke. 

Will  of  Thomas  Mollis 

This  testator,  Thomas  Hollis  of  Cusicombe,  Dorsetshire,  England, 
ordered  his  corpse  to  be  buried  in  one  of  his  cornfields,  ten  feet 
below  the  surface,  and  the  ground  to  be  immediately  ploughed, 
so  that  no  trace  of  the  spot  might  remain. 


ANCIENT,   CURIOUS,   AND  FAMOUS  WILLS      149 

Will  of  Mrs.  Maria  Redding 

This  lady's  behests  are  sufficiently  singular  to  be  recorded  here : 
"If,"  she  writes,  "I  should  die  away  from  Branksome,  I  desire  that 
my  remains,  after  being  duly  placed  in  the  usual  coffins  {i.e.  first  a 
leaden  and  then  an  elm  one),  be  enclosed  in  a  plain  deal  box,  and 
conveyed  by  goods  train  to  Poole.  Let  no  mention  be  made  of  the 
contents,  as  the  conveyance  will  then  not  be  charged  more  for  than 
an  ordinary  package.  From  Poole  station  let  it  be  brought  in  a 
cart  to  Branksome  tower,  and  it  will  be  found  the  easiest  way  to  get 
the  coffin  out  of  the  house  will  be  to  take  out  one  of  the  dining- 
room  windows,"     This  will  was  probated  in  1870. 

The  Will  of  the  Dowager  Countess  of  Sandwich 

This  will  provides  against  those  useless  inventions,  which  only 
serve  to  aggravate  the  grief  of  the  survivors,  and  to  swell  the 
extortionate  charges  of  the  upholsterers  of  death.  She  therefore 
forbids  "all  grotesque  paraphernalia,  desiring  only  to  be  buried 
quietly  and  decently,  with  no  scarfs,  hatbands,  or  other  excuses 
for  fraud  and  cheating." 

Horror  of  Darkness 

A  Vienna  millionnaire  seemed  to  have  a  horror  of  darkness,  for  he 
provided  that  not  only  the  vault  in  which  his  body  was  to  be  placed 
should  be  lighted  by  electricity,  but  the  coffin  should  be  similarly 
illumined. 

Will  of  La  Duchesse  D'Olonne 

This  lady,  whose  life  was  full  of  eccentricities,  seems  to  have 
been  determined  to  signalize  her  departure  from  the  world  by  the 
singularity  of  her  testamentary  dispositions. 

She  desired  in  her  will,  probated  in  1776,  that  her  body  should  be 
carried  into  the  principality  of  Lux,  situated  in  Basse  Navarre,  and 
about  two  hundred  and  fifty  miles  from  Paris.  So  far  there  was 
nothing  very  extraordinary ;  but  she  also  desired  to  be  followed  by 
a  very  long  procession,  which  was  to  consist  of  six  mourning-coaches 
draped  with  black,  for  the  family  and  the  ecclesiastics,  and  of  two 
hundred  persons  bearing  torches,  who  were  to  receive  a  crown  a 
day.  The  cortege  was  to  walk  at  a  solemn  pace,  and  not  to  make 
more  than  five  leagues  per  day,  and  at  every  five  leagues,  or  as  near 


150      ANCIENT,   CURIOUS,  AND  FAMOUS   WILLS 

that  distance  as  it  was  possible  to  find  a  convenient  resting-place, 
a  funeral  service  was  to  be  celebrated  before  the  procession  started 
again,  and  every  church  where  such  service  should  be  held  was  to 
be  hung  with  black. 

What  the  cost  of  all  this  ceremony  amounted  to  may  be  com- 
puted by  the  cost  of  the  carriages  alone,  the  hire  of  which  amounted 
to  eighteen  thousand  francs. 

By  another  article  in  her  will,  the  duchess  devises  liberal  dona- 
tions and  annuities  to  her  servants,  proportioned  to  their  services, 
but  at  the  same  time  she  sends  them  into  exile ;  for  she  assigns  to 
each  a  fixed  residence  at  a  certain  distance  from  Paris,  so  that  they 
shall  be  all  separated  from  each  other,  and  she  specifies  that  they 
can  only  receive  such  annuities  in  the  locality  appointed  them,  and 
on  condition  that  they  shall  make  that  their  residence,  because,  as 
she  alleges,  she  does  not  wish  them  to  congregate  together,  and  talk 
about  her  affairs  and  her  character. 

She  left  fifteen  thousand  francs  to  the  poet  Robbe,  whom  she 
lodged  and  supported  in  Paris,  though  it  is  difficult  to  discover  on 
what  grounds  she  patronized  a  man  of  such  mediocre  merit. 

Lady  Nicotine 

A  young  lady  of  Kentucky  exhibited  a  depth  of  sentiment  rarely 
equalled,  when  she  directed  in  her  will  that  tobacco  should  be 
planted  over  her  grave,  that  the  weed,  nourished  by  her  dust, 
might  be  smoked  by  her  bereaved  lovers. 

Forget  John  Underwood 

On  the  6th  of  May,  1735,  was  buried  at  Wittesca,  Mr.  John 
Underwood,  of  Lexington.  The  body  was  lowered  into  the 
grave  at  five  o'clock,  and  as  soon  as  the  prayers  were  concluded 
a  marble  tablet  was  fixed  at  the  extremity  of  the  grave,  bearing 
this  inscription : 

Non  omnis  moriar, 

JOHN   UNDERWOOD 

May  6,  1735. 

All  the  detail  of  the  interment  was  in  strict  accordance  with  the 
testamentary  prescriptions  of  the  deceased,  and  proceeded  as  fol- 
lows :  As  soon  as  the  grave  was  filled  up  and  covered  with  turf,  the 


ANCIENT,   CURIOUS,  AND  FAMOUS  WILLS      151 

six  friends  who,  by  his  desire,  had  attended  on  the  occasion,  sang 
the  last  stanza  of  the  twentieth  ode  of  the  second  book  of  Horace ; 

"  Absint  inani  funere  ncenise, 

Luctusque  turpes  et  querimonise ; 
Compesce  clamorem,  ac  sepulcri 
Mitte  supervacuos  ho  no  res." 

No  bell  was  tolled ;  no  relative  was  present ;  the  bier  was  painted 
green,  and  the  body  was  laid  on  it  dressed  in  ordinary  clothes  ;  be- 
neath the  head  was  placed  a  copy  of  Horace,  at  his  feet  a  Milton, 
on  his  right  hand  a  small  Greek  Bible,  with  his  name  on  the  binding 
in  gilt  letters,  on  the  left  a  smaller  edition  of  Horace,  with  the  in- 
scription "Musis  amicus,  J.U,,"  and  under  his  shoulders  Bentley's 
Horace.  When  the  ceremony  was  concluded,  his  friends  returned 
to  his  house,  where  his  sister  awaited  them,  and  all  sat  down  to  an 
elegant  supper ;  after  it  was  over,  the  company  joined  in  singing  the 
thirty -first  ode  of  the  first  book  of  Horace : 

"  Quid  dedicatum  poscit  ApoUinem  vates  ?  " 

Then  they  drank  gayly  for  some  time,  but  retired  at  eight  o'clock. 
Mr.  John  Underwood  bequeathed  about  fifty  thousand  dollars  to 
his  sister,  on  condition  that  she  should  carry  out  faithfully  the  con- 
ditions of  his  will.  He  left  $50  to  each  of  his  friends,  requesting 
them  not  to  wear  mourning;  then  came  the  singular  directions, 
which  were  carried  out  as  above,  and  the  will  concluded  thus : 
"...  This  done,  I  request  my  friends  to  separate,  after  drinking 
cheerfully  together,  and  to  think  no  more  of  John  Underwood." 


Without  Pomp  or  Vainglory 

Joan,  Lady  Bergavenny,  whose  will  is  dated  10th  of  January, 
1434,  wills  "that  my  body  be  kept  unburied  in  the  place  where  it 
happeneth  me  to  die,  unto  the  time  my  'maygne'  (household)  be 
clothed  in  black,  my  hearse,  my  chare,  and  other  convenable  pur- 
veyance made,  and  then  to  be  carried  unto  the  place  of  my  burying 
before  rehearsed,  with  all  the  worship  that  ought  to  be  done  unto  a 
woman  of  mine  estate,  which  God  knoweth  well  proceedeth  not 
of  no  pomp  or  vain  glory,  that  I  am  set  in  for  my  body,  but  for  a 
memorial  and  remembrance  of  my  soul  to  my  kin,  friends,  servants, 
and  all  other.  ..." 


152      ANCIENT,   CURIOUS,  AND  FAMOUS  WILLS 

Desired  Beautiful  Scenery 

Lord  Camelford,  the  famous  duellist,  wrote  a  codicil  to  his  will,  by 
which  he  desired  that  his  body  "should  not  be  buried  within  city 
walls  or  the  haunts  of  men,  but  should  be  removed  to  a  far-distant 
spot,  where  the  surrounding  scenery  might  smile  upon  his  remains." 
The  Lake  of  St.  Lampierre,  in  Switzerland,  was  the  spot  selected. 
On  the  borders  of  this  lake  was  a  sloping  bank  marked  by  three  trees. 
The  testator  designated  the  centre  one  as  that  under  which  he  had 
passed  many  hours  meditating  on  the  mutability  of  human  affairs, 
and  he  requested  that  this  might  be  carefully  removed,  his  body  in- 
terred beneath  it,  and  the  tree  replaced.  These,  his  last  wishes,  were 
faithfully  executed. 

Will  of  Richard-sans-Peur 

This  brave  Duke  of  Normandy  had  prepared  his  tomb,  many 
years  before  his  death,  in  the  Abbey  of  Fecamp,  and  ordered  that  his 
burial  should  be  conducted  with  the  utmost  simplicity.  So  great 
was  his  humility  that  he  expressed  his  wishes  as  follows:  "Je 
veulx  estre  enseveli  devant  I'huys  de  I'eglise,  afin  d'etre  coneulque 
(trodden  under  foot)  de  tous  les  entrans  dans  I'eglise."  These,  his 
last  wishes,  were  executed ;  but  some  years  after  an  Abbot  of  Fe- 
camp, considering  that  "a  si  digne  personnage  plus  decente  sepul- 
ture appartenait,"  had  his  body  exhumed  and  buried  in  front  of  the 
altar. 

Fifteen  Maidens  with  Torches 

Frangois  de  la  Palu  Varembon,  Seigneur  de  Beaumont  sur  Vin- 
geanne,  in  Burgundy,  made,  in  1456,  a  will  by  which  he  testifies 
his  objection  to  lugubrious  colors  at  his  interment ;  desiring  that 
fifteen  maidens  of  the  very  poorest  of  his  vassals,  clothed  in  white 
cloth  at  the  expense  of  his  estate,  each  wearing  a  scarlet  hood  and 
carrying  a  torch  of  three  pounds'  weight,  should  walk  in  procession 
before  the  body,  and  that  his  heirs  shall  also  wear  white  at  his  fu- 
neral and  at  every  successive  anniversary  of  his  death.  He  further 
orders  that  four  wax  candles,  of  twenty-five  pounds'  weight  each, 
shall  be  placed  at  the  corners  of  his  coffin. 

Body  carried  to  a  Cafe 

One  September  afternoon,  in  1874,  an  empty  hearse  was  seen 
standing  at  about  four  o'clock  at  the  entrance  of  the  salons  of  the 


ANCIENT,   CURIOUS,   AND  FAMOUS  WILLS      153 

Cafe  Riche,  Rue  Le  Peletier.  On  inquiry  it  was  found  that  a  fre- 
quenter of  this  famous  establishment  had  inserted  in  his  will  a 
clause  to  this  effect : 

"I  desire  that  on  the  day  of  my  burial  I  may  be  carried  round  by 
the  Rue  Le  Peletier,  to  visit  once  more  the  table  where  I  have  spent 
so  many  of  the  pleasantest  hours  of  my  life." 

As  we  have  seen,  this  singular  wish  was  respected  by  the  survivors 
of  the  testator. 

Barber  not  wanted 

The  will,  dated  January  9th,  1873,  of  Mr.  Richard  Christopher 
Carrington,  late  of  Churt,  near  Farnham,  Surrey,  England,  astron- 
omer, who  died  on  the  previous  November  27th,  was  proved  by 
Mrs.  Esther  Clarke  Carrington,  the  mother  of  the  deceased,  the 
personal  estate  being  sworn  under  £20,000.  The  testator  desired 
to  be  buried  at  a  depth  of  between  ten  and  twelve  feet  in  the 
grounds  surrounding  his  own  freehold  house  at  Churt,  at  an  ex- 
pense not  exceeding  £5,  without  any  service  being  read  over  his 
grave,  and  without  any  memorial  being  erected  to  his  memory; 
and  he  directed  that  after  his  death  neither  his  chin  be  shaved  nor 
his  shirt  changed.  He  bequeathed  to  the  Royal  Society  and  the 
Royal  Astronomical  Society  £2000  Three  Per  Cent.  Consolidated 
Bank  Annuities  each,  both  free  of  legacy  duty. 

Young  Lady's  Picturesque  Funeral 

A  somewhat  unusual  funeral  cortege  astonished  the  inhabitants 
of  Brighton,  England,  traversing  it  from  the  west  end  to  the  rail- 
way station,  one  morning  in  the  autumn  of  1879.  Concerning 
it  some  very  romantic,  highly  imaginative,  but  somewhat  incor- 
rect rumors  gained  currency.  The  funeral  was  that  of  a  young 
lady,  named  Ellen  Elizabeth  Barren,  the  daughter  of  William 
Parren,  Esq.,  of  Beckenham,  in  Kent,  who  had  arrived  in  Brighton 
that  day  week,  on  a  visit  to  her  uncle.  Captain  Dunhill,  of 
Brunswick  Road.  Though  delicate,  she  was  thought  to  be  in  her 
usual  health ;  but  on  the  following  Monday  she  died  somewhat 
suddenly.  The  deceased  young  lady,  being  a  great  favorite  both  in 
her  own  family  and  amongst  her  friends,  it  was  decided  that  the 
obsequies  should  not  partake  of  that  gloomy  and  melancholy  char- 
acter which  is  the  usually  accepted  mode  of  burial,  but  that  it 
should  be  more  inspiring  and  hopeful  in  its  tone.     The  handsome 


154      ANCIENT,   CURIOUS,   AND  FAMOUS  WILLS 

funeral  car  was  drawn  by  four  grays,  In  the  place  of  black  horses, 
and  the  funeral  coaches  were  represented  by  three  landaus,  each 
drawn  by  a  pair  of  grays.  The  coflSn,  having  been  placed  upon  the 
car,  was  covered  by  a  handsome  white-and-gold  pall,  upon  which 
were  laid  a  number  of  beautiful  wreaths  of  white  flowers.  The 
cortege  as  thus  arranged  left  Brunswick  Road,  Hove,  for  the  rail- 
way station,  and  then  proceeded  to  Croydon.  Here,  the  funeral 
procession  having  been  rearranged  and  augmented  by  two  other 
landaus  drawn  by  pairs  of  grays  and  a  number  of  private  carriages, 
proceeded  to  Norwood  Cemetery,  where  the  remains  were  laid  in 
the  grave,  the  service  being  performed  by  two  Nonconformist 
ministers,  the  Rev.  Mr.  Eldridge  and  the  Rev.  Mr.  Jenkinson. 
The  coffin  was  of  polished  oak,  with  plated  silver  ornaments  and 
inscription  plate,  the  latter  having  upon  it  the  following:  "Ellen 
Elizabeth,  daughter  of  Wm.  Parren,  Esq.,  died  August  25,  1879, 
aged  25." 

To  CURTAIL  Funeral  Bills 

The  will  of  Mr.  Francis  Offley  Martin,  formerly  of  Lincoln's  Inn, 
but  late  of  89  Onslow  Gardens,  one  of  the  Charity  Commissioners 
for  England  and  Wales,  who  died  on  December  4th,  1878,  was 
proved  by  William  Smith,  the  sole  executor,  the  personal  estate 
being  sworn  under  £7000.  The  testator,  in  his  directions  for  his 
funeral,  provides  that  no  scarfs  or  hatbands  be  used  or  given  away 
on  the  occasion  either  to  the  clergyman  or  any  other  person,  as  he 
wishes  to  break  through  the  custom  of  running  up  funeral  bills  ;  and 
he  declares  that  this  prohibition  is  to  extend  also  to  gloves. 

Full  Dress  Uniform 

The  late  Surgeon-Major  Wyatt,  C.B.,  of  the  Coldstream  Guards, 
who  did  good  service  to  suffering  humanity  in  Paris  after  the  siege 
in  1871,  desired  in  his  will  to  be  buried  in  the  full-dress  uniform 
of  the  regiment  in  which  he  had  passed  the  greater  part  of  his  useful 
and  honorable  life.  A  Bible  presented  to  him  by  his  wife  was  to 
be  placed  in  his  coffin,  and  the  horses  used  at  his  funeral  were  not 
to  be  "decorated"  —  plumed  and  draped,  we  presume  —  in  any 
manner;  the  mutes  and  other  attendants  were  not  to  wear  hat- 
bands or  scarfs ;  each  person  attending  his  funeral  was  to  wear 
in  token  of  mourning  only  a  black  band  of  medium  width  —  crape 
for  relatives  and  cloth  for  friends;    the  gloves  were  to  be  black; 


ANCIENT,   CURIOUS,  AND  FAMOUS  WILLS      155 

but  each  person  in  the  procession  was  to  wear  a  cameUia  or  other 
white  flower  in  his  buttonhole,  as  it  was  the  worthy  surgeon-major's 
wish  that  the  ceremony  "should  be  as  free  as  possible  from  all 
gloomy  associations,  and  to  be  considered  more  as  an  occasion  for 
rejoicing  than  for  mourning."  Consonant  with  this  leading  idea 
was  the  expressed  wish  that  no  kind  of  widow's  cap  or  weeds 
should  be  worn  by  his  relict,  and  no  particle  of  crape  should  appear 
on  the  garments  of  his  relations.  Side  by  side  with  this,  publica- 
tion was  given  to  a  will  announcing  the  desire  of  another  testator 
to  be  buried  with  a  hearse  surmounted  by  sable  ostrich-plumes, 
with  horses  duly  panaches  and  caparisoned,  mutes  and  bearers 
and  "pages,"  scarfs  and  flowing  hatbands  and  brazen-tipped 
staves,  and  all  the  rest  of  that  elaborate  panoply  of  woe  which  finds 
so  much  favor  in  the  eyes,  and  affords  such  comfortable  entries 
in  the  books,  of  old-established  undertakers.  Quot  homines,  tot 
sententice,  thus  every  man  seems  to  be  of  a  different  mind  concern- 
ing the  ordering  of  his  funeral. 

Under  the  Oak  Trees 

Sir  Charles  Hastings  requested  that  his  body  might  "not  be 
coffined,  but  swathed  in  any  coarse  stuff  that  would  hold  it  to- 
gether, and  then  buried  in  a  spot  designated  by  him.  That  the 
ground  should  then  be  planted  with  acorns,  so  that  he  might  render 
a  last  service  to  his  country  by  contributing  to  nourish  some  good 
English  oaks." 

An  Abnormal  Burial 

Lord  Truro,  of  England,  whose  residence  was  at  Falconhurst,  on 
the  summit  of  Shooter's  Hill,  afforded  a  novel  example  of  funeral 
simplicity.  On  the  demise  of  Lady  Truro,  Lord  Truro  having, 
according  to  her  desire,  placed  the  body  in  a  lightly  constructed 
box,  so  that  the  process  of  decay  might  not  be  arrested,  buried  it 
himself  in  a  grave  dug  in  the  lawn  fronting  the  house,  at  a  spot 
she  had  selected  for  the  purpose.  The  grave  is  about  four  feet 
deep,  and  a  marble  monument  has  been  raised  upon  it. 

Protected  his  Whiskers 

Valentine  Tapley,  owner  of  the  longest  beard  in  the  world,  died 
Saturday,  April  2,  1910,  at  his  home,  Spencerburg,  Pike  County, 
Missouri.     He  was  eighty  years  old.     It  is  said  that  when  Lincoln 


156      ANCIENT,   CURIOUS,  AND  FAMOUS  WILLS 

was  a  candidate  for  the  Presidency,  Mr.  Tapley,  who  was  a  Demo- 
crat, made  a  vow  that  if  Lincoln  was  elected  he  would  never  cut  his 
beard.  The  length  of  his  beard  was  12^^  feet  for  several  years 
prior  to  his  death.  This  is  said  to  be  longer  than  any  other  beard 
known.  Mr.  Tapley  took  great  pride  in  his  whiskers,  and  wore 
them  wrapped  in  silk  and  wound  about  his  body.  During  the 
latter  part  of  his  life  he  was  apprehensive  his  grave  would  be 
robbed  for  his  whiskers,  and  in  his  will  he  made  provision  for  a 
tomb  of  extra  strength  to  guard  against  this.  Mr.  Tapley  declined 
several  offers  to  exhibit  his  beard.  He  was  a  large  owner  of  Pike 
County  farming  land,  and  died  wealthy. 

Dastards  and  Fools 

In  France,  not  long  ago,  died  an  eccentric  Frenchman  who  de- 
clared the  French  to  be  "a  nation  of  dastards  and  fools."  For 
that  reason,  he  devised  the  whole  of  his  fortune  to  the  people  of 
London,  and  directed  that  his  body  be  thrown  into  the  sea  a  mile 
from  the  English  coast.  An  attempt  was  made  to  have  him  ad- 
judged insane  when  he  made  the  will,  but  it  failed. 

Recipe  and  Restitution 

Another  Frenchman  directed  that  a  new  cooking  recipe  should 
be  pasted  on  his  tomb  every  day ;  and  still  another  Frenchman,  a 
lawyer,  left  fifty  thousand  dollars  to  a  lunatic  asylum,  declaring 
that  it  was  simply  an  act  of  restitution  to  the  clients  who  were 
insane  enough  to  employ  his  services. 

To  THE  Four  Winds 

A  queer  request  was  made  by  a  German  who  died  in  Pittsburgh, 
Pennsylvania,  in  1887.  By  his  will,  he  directed  that  his  body 
should  be  cremated  and  the  ashes  forwarded  to  the  German  Consul 
at  New  York,  who  was  to  deliver  them  to  the  captain  of  the 
steamship  FAhe.  When  in  mid-ocean,  the  captain  was  to  request 
a  passenger  to  dress  himself  in  nautical  costume,  and,  ascending 
with  the  funeral  urn  to  the  topmast,  to  scatter  the  ashes  to  the 
four  winds  of  heaven.  And  these  strange  directions  were  literally 
carried  out. 


ANCIENT,   CURIOUS,   AND   FAMOUS  WILLS       157 

Their  Ashes  into  the  Mississippi  River 

During  the  last  twenty-five  years,  the  great  Eads  Bridge,  which 
spans  the  Mississippi  River  at  St.  Louis,  Missouri,  has  been 
favored  as  a  spot  by  those  who  desired  that  their  mortal  ashes 
should  be  scattered  to  the  winds.  On  more  than  one  occasion, 
could  have  been  seen  unusual  gatherings  on  the  bridge,  and  after 
certain  religious  formalities,  human  ashes  have  been  deposited  in 
the  river. 

The  latest  ceremony  of  this  kind  occurred  on  Sunday,  January 
29,  1911 :  Joel  Braunmiller,  an  eccentric  old  bachelor,  lived  alone 
in  a  large  house  on  his  farm,  eight  miles  north  of  Mary  ville,  Missouri. 
He  died  recently,  and  left  a  large  estate  to  his  brothers  and  sisters. 
The  following  clause  was  contained  in  his  will : 

"I  direct  that  after  my  death,  my  body  be  shipped  by  express 
to  St.  Louis,  Mo.,  and  there  cremated  and  my  ashes  strewn  to  the 
winds  from  the  south  side  of  the  Eads  Bridge  over  the  river." 

On  the  date  named,  Charles  R.  Lupton,  an  undertaker  of  St. 
Louis,  with  an  urn  containing  the  ashes  of  Mr.  Braunmiller,  leaned 
over  the  south  parapet  of  the  bridge,  tipped  the  urn  gradually, 
and  let  the  ashes  fall  into  the  river.  The  wind,  whirling  about  the 
piers  and  buttresses  of  the  great  bridge,  caught  up  the  ashes  and 
flung  them  in  every  direction.  When  the  urn  had  been  emptied, 
it,  too,  was  dropped  into  the  river. 

Mr.  S.  H.  Kemp,  Cashier  of  the  Maryville  National  Bank,  who 
was  a  close  friend  of  Mr.  Braunmiller,  and  also  the  executor  of  his 
will,  stood  close  beside  the  undertaker  to  see  that  the  ceremony 
was  carried  out  according  to  the  wishes  of  the  deceased.  There 
were  also  present  relatives  of  the  deceased,  who  had  come  from 
various  parts  of  the  United  States. 

Ruling  Passion  Strong  in  Death 

The  wife  of  Mr.  Fisher  Dilke,  of  England,  brother-in-law  to  Sir 
Peter  Wentworth,  one  of  the  regicide  judges,  was  interred  in  the 
year  1660  in  a  very  singular  way. 

Her  husband  caused  her  coffin  to  be  made  of  the  wooden  pal- 
ings of  his  barn,  and  bargaining  hard  with  the  sexton  beat  him 
down  from  "  a  shilling"  (the  usual  sum)  to  a  groat  (fourpence) ;  he 
avoided  the  expense  of  bearing  by  begging  four  of  his  friends  and 
neighbors  to  discharge  this  office.  Having  assembled  them  he 
read  to  them  a  chapter  of  the  book  of  Job,  and  then  distributed 


158      ANCIENT,   CURIOUS,  AND  FAMOUS  WILLS 

to  them  the  contents  of  a  bottle  of  Burgundy  and  sixpennyworth 
of  spiced  cakes.  As  there  was  no  ecclesiastic  present,  Dilke  him- 
self, who  acted  as  chief  mourner,  took  up  the  spade,  and  as  soon 
as  the  coflBn  was  lowered,  threw  earth  upon  it,  repeating  the  usual 
words,  "Dust  to  dust,"  etc.,  adding,  "Lord,  now  lettest  thou," 
etc.     Then  the  party  returned  home. 

5 
MISCELLANEOUS 

"  Learn  to  live  well,  or  fairly  make  your  will ; 

You've  played,  and  loved,  and  eat,  and  drank  your  fill : 
Walk  sober  oflF ;  before  a  sprightlier  age 

Comes  titt'ring  on,  and  shoves  you  from  the  stage." 

Her  Adorable  Nose 

A  certain  individual,  one  of  the  Vanderbilts,  left  to  a  lady  a 
bequest  in  these  words  :  "I  supplicate  Miss  B.  to  accept  my  whole 
fortune,  too  feeble  an  acknowledgment  of  the  inexpressible  sensa- 
tions which  the  contemplation  of  her  adorable  nose  has  produced 
on  me." 

Remembered  the  Police  Station 

Not  long  ago  a  will  was  contested  in  New  York,  because  the 
testatrix  had  bequeathed  a  grand  piano,  several  oil  paintings,  and 
five  pieces  of  Japanese  pottery  to  a  police  station.  The  protest- 
ing heir  won  the  case,  and  there  was  a  reversion  of  these  art  treas- 
ures to  the  natural  heirs. 

All  smiled  Sweetly 
A  certain  will  reads,  "to  that  amiable  young  lady,  Miss  Blank, 
who  smiles  so  sweetly  in  the  street  when  we  meet,  I  give  Twenty- 
Five  Hundred  Dollars."  Now  in  the  Blank  family,  there  were  six 
sisters ;  they  all  claimed  to  be  "  the  amiable  young  lady,"  but  which 
of  them  got  the  legacy,  history  sayeth  not. 

A  Salutation  Directed 
Pursuant  to  the  will  of  Sir  John  Salter,  who  died  in  the  year  1605, 
and  who  was  a  good  benefactor  to  the  Company,  the  beadles  and 
servants  of  the  Worshipful  Company  of  Salters  are  to  attend  at 
St.  Magnus'  Church,  London  Bridge,  in  the  first  week  in  October, 
and  knock  upon  his  gravestone,  with  sticks  or  staves,  three  times 
each  person,  and  say,  "How  do  you  do.  Brother  Salter?  I  hope 
you  are  well." 


ANCIENT,   CURIOUS,  AND  FAMOUS  WILLS      159 

No  Underclothes  in  Winter 

A  crabbed  old  German  professor,  who  died  at  Berlin  in  1900, 
entertaining  a  great  dislike  for  his  sole  surviving  relative,  left  his 
property  to  him,  but  on  the  absolute  condition  that  he  should 
always  wear  white  linen  clothes  at  all  seasons  of  the  year,  and 
should  not  supplement  them  in  winter  by  extra  undergarments. 

Had  $100,  gave  away  $700,000 

A  singular  will  was  that  of  Miss  Cora  Johnson,  who  resided  in  an 
apartment  at  No.  819  Beacon  Street,  Boston,  and  who  died  in 
September,  1910,  at  a  hospital  in  that  city.  The  value  of  her 
entire  possessions,  when  inventoried,  was  found  not  to  exceed  $100, 
and  she  was  buried  by  friends ;  yet,  by  her  will,  she  created  be- 
quests and  legacies  amounting  to  $700,000 ;  she  claimed  that  she 
was  entitled  to  a  large  fortune  from  the  estate  of  an  unnamed 
person  living  in  New  York. 

Miss  Johnson,  it  is  claimed,  never  revealed  the  name  of  this 
person,  and  even  her  attorney,  who  drew  her  will,  was  not  ac- 
quainted with  it ;  all  she  disclosed  was  that  she  expected  a  large 
estate  from  a  wealthy,  elderly  woman,  who  made  her  will  in  her 
favor  and  became  insane,  and  was  in  a  sanitarium  in  New  York, 
and  this  will  could  not  be  changed  by  reason  of  the  insanity  of 
the  testator.  Evidently,  she  had  a  firm  conviction  that  the  estate 
must  reach  her,  in  any  event. 

That  part  of  the  will  referring  to  the  promised  millions  reads : 

"Whereas  it  is  possible  that  at  the  time  of  my  decease  I  shall  not 
be  the  owner  of  property  sufficient  in  amount  to  pay  the  foregoing 
bequests,  and 

"Whereas  I  have  been  credibly  informed  and  believe  that  there 
is  in  existence  a  certain  will  made  by  a  person  now  an  inhabitant 
of  the  city  and  state  of  New  York  by  which  will  certain  property  is 
devised  and  bequeathed  to  me,  and 

"Whereas  I  have  been  credibly  informed  and  believe  that  in  said 
will  it  is  provided,  that  in  case  I  shall  die  before  the  maker  of  said 
will,  the  property  therein  bequeathed  and  devised  to  me,  shall  pass 
to  and  be  paid  over  and  delivered  to  the  persons,  corporations  and 
objects  which  I  shall  in  my  last  will  name,  select  and  appoint : 

"Now,  therefore,  I  do  hereby  exercise  any  and  all  powers  of 
appointment  contained  in  and  given  to  me  by  any  such  will  by 
any  person  if  any  such  will  there  be,  desiring  and  intending  that 


160      ANCIENT,  CURIOUS,  AND  FAMOUS  WILLS 

whether  or  not  I  survive  the  maker  of  said  will,  the  persons,  cor- 
porations and  institutions  hereinbefore  named  shall  be  benefited 
in  accordance  with  and  to  the  extent  of  the  terms  of  this  instru- 
ment, either  as  legatees  hereunder  in  case  of  my  survival  of  the 
maker  of  said  will,  or  as  my  appointees  thereunder  in  case  of  my 
predecease." 

His  Earthly  Happiness 

An  old  bachelor,  on  dying,  left  the  whole  of  his  property  to  three 
ladies  to  whom  he  had  proposed  marriage,  and  who  had  refused 
him.  The  reason  for  this  bequest,  he  stated,  was  that  by  their 
refusal,  "to  them  I  owe  all  my  earthly  happiness." 

Must  pay  for  her  Drinks 

Mr.  Davis,  of  Clapham,  England,  left  the  sum  of  5s.  "to  Mary 
Davis,  daughter  of  Peter  Delaport,  which  is  sufficient  to  enable 
her  to  get  drunk  for  the  last  time  at  my  expense." 

Imaginary  Wife  and  Children 

A  Mr.  George,  resident  of  one  of  the  British  Colonies,  who  died 
possessed  of  a  large  property,  contrived  to  puzzle  the  brains  of  his 
executors  by  imagining  and  inserting  in  his  will  two  heirs  who  had 
no  existence  but  in  his  brain.  After  bequeathing  his  worldly 
goods  in  the  usual  form,  he  named  as  his  residuary  legatees  a  son 
and  daughter,  whom  he  stated  to  be  his  children  by  a  beautiful 
Circassian  he  had  married  at  Plymouth  in  St.  Peter's  Church.  He 
added  that,  though  the  lady  had  subsequently  eloped  with  a 
parson,  he  bore  no  ill-will  to  the  children,  whom  she  had  taken  with 
her,  but  should  be  glad  to  think  they  would  be  traced  and  apprised 
of  their  good  fortune. 

The  whole  romance  turned  out  to  be  a  complete  fabrication, 
but  not  until  it  had  severely  tried  the  patience  of  the  executors. 

This  Foolish  World  a  Dream 

Harris  Bletzer,  who  died  on  August  21,  1910,  at  his  home, 
35  Moore  Street,  Brooklyn,  N.Y.,  worth  about  $10,000,  had  pretty 
definite  ideas  as  to  how  he  wanted  his  money  to  go  after  his  death, 
and  he  also  had  come  to  the  conclusion  that,  after  all,  this  was  a 
foolish  world  and  a  dream,  so  he  wrote  down  in  Hebrew  his  philo- 
sophical conclusions  and  had  it  properly  attested  as  his  last  will 


ANCIENT,   CURIOUS,  AND  FAMOUS  WILLS      161 

and  testament.  This  remarkable  document  has  been  translated  for 
Surrogate  Ketcham's  benefit,  and  it  has  been  offered  for  probate. 

Mr.  Bletzer  wants  his  wife  to  have  all  his  money  for  her  lifetime, 
and  she  isn't  to  be  dictated  to  by  anybody,  either,  as  to  what  she 
does  with  it,  the  testator  says,  for  she  worked  for  it  as  hard  as 
her  husband  did.  But  he  says  that  when  their  two  daughters, 
Sarah  and  Mazie,  get  married,  their  mother  can  spend  $2000  upon 
each  of  them,  and  it  shall  be  considered  as  their  share  of  their 
father's  estate.  After  the  widow  dies,  then  the  money  is  to  be 
divided  among  the  sons.  The  reason  for  his  opinion  of  life  is 
given  in  language  not  quite  grammatical,  as  follows  : 

"Lying  in  my  bed,  with  my  weak  strength,  and  figured  out  with 
a  clear  mind  and  a  clear  conscience,  man  going  through  his  life  in 
this  fooHsh  world;  so  I  have  decided,  with  my  full  reason,  that 
the  entire  world  is  a  dream.  The  years  run  by  and  the  day  of 
leave-taking  is  expected,  and  I  have  decided  to  declare  what  shall 
be  done  with  my  little  wealth  which  I  have  accumulated  by  my 
sweat  through  my  hard  work." 

It  paid  to  be  Heavy 

A  Scotchman  left  to  each  of  his  daughters  her  weight  in  one- 
pound  bank  notes.  By  this  provision,  one  daughter,  being  stouter 
than  the  other,  received  $30,000  more  than  her  sister. 

Opposed  to  Mustaches 

Mr.  Fleming,  an  upholsterer,  of  Pimlico,  by  his  will,  proved  in 
1869,  left  £10  each  to  the  men  in  his  employ  —  those  who  did  not 
wear  mustaches ;  those  who  persisted  in  wearing  them  to  have  £5 
only. 

Must  be  Tall 

The  county  of  Yorkshire  in  England  is  noted  for  its  tall  men, 
and  a  resident  of  that  county  left  his  entire  estate  to  those  of  his 
descendants  who  were  not  less  than  six  feet  four  inches  in  height. 

Newspaper  Reading  Prohibited 

A  Vienna  banker  made  a  bequest  to  his  nephew  with  the  stipula- 
tion that  "he  shall  never,  on  any  occasion,  read  a  newspaper,  his 
favorite  occupation." 


162      ANCIENT,   CURIOUS,  AND  FAMOUS  WILLS 

A  Beam  and  Bell 
The  will  of  Reginald  atte  Pette,  of  Stockbury,  dated  12th  of 
January,  1456,  is  in  part  as  follows  :  "  Item,  I  bequeath  toward  the 
making  of  a  new  beam  in  the  Church  of  Stockbury,  xiii  s.  iiii  d. ; 
towards  a  new  bell  called  trebyll  vi  s.  viii  d. ;  towards  the  work 
of  the  new  isle  in  the  aforesaid  Church  iv  marcs ;  and  towards  the 
making  of  a  new  window  there  xx  s.  Witnesses,  John  Petytt,  Nich. 
Cowstede,  Adomar  atte  Pette,  Thomas  atte  Pette,  Peter  atte  Pette,, 
Christopher,  Clerk  of  the  Parish  there,  Vicar  of  Stockbury." 

Must  become  an  Actress 

A  maiden  lady  over  fifty  years  of  age,  with  a  strong  aversion  to 
all  theatrical  amusements,  was  scandalized  by  being  put  down  for 
a  legacy  in  the  will  of  a  facetious  friend,  who  attached  the  condi- 
tion that  within  six  months  of  the  testator's  death  the  legatee 
obtain  an  engagement  at  a  theatre  and  must  perform  there  for  one 
whole  week. 

Will  sustained.  Codicil  rejected 

A  Protestant  clergyman,  the  Reverend  John  Markhouse,  aged 
70,  bequeathed  £12,000  for  the  purpose  of  establishing  a  school  for 
illegitimate  children  only,  at  Bradchurch,  Hants,  England.  He 
added  a  codicil  providing  for  educational  expenses  by  a  further 
sum  of  £8000.  The  disappointed  relatives  appealed  against  the 
will ;  but  the  court,  strangely  enough,  decided  in  favor  of  the  will 
and  against  the  codicil,  on  consideration  of  the  plea  that  towards 
the  close  of  his  life  he  had  appeared  eccentric  enough  to  justify 
the  conclusion  that  he  was  not  of  sound  mind  when  he  wrote  the 
latter.     Nevertheless  the  sequitur  seems  logical  enough. 

Music 
An  Englishman,  Richard  Lane,  otherwise  Tomson,  by  his  will, 
dated  24th  of  July,  1619,  gave  to  one  of  the  deacons  of  the  Cathe- 
dral Church  of  Hereford  405.  yearly  forever,  to  prick  fairly  into 
books,  songs,  and  church  service,  for  the  use  of  the  same  church ; 
and  upon  his  coming  every  half-year  for  his  wages,  he  should  bring 
with  him  the  sub-chanter  of  the  choir,  who  would  show  to  him  who 
had  the  payment  of  the  money,  what  he  had  done  in  that  business 
the  half-year  last  past ;  and  if  he  should  be  found  negligent  therein, 
then  the  payment  for  that  time  should  be  given  to  twelve  poor 
men  the  Saturday  next  following. 


ANCIENT,   CURIOUS,  AND  FAMOUS  WILLS      163 

Repeat  the  Catechism  on  Christmas  Day 
Robert  Barber,  Cambridgeshire,  England,  by  will,  dated  21st  of 
June,  1818,  gave  unto  the  minister  of  Hasling-field  and  the  tenant 
of  the  farm,  on  which  Mr,  Wallace  then  lived,  £20  in  trust,  to  be 
placed  out  at  interest,  upon  good  security,  and  the  interest  thereof 
to  be  by  them  given  every  year  after  his  decease  unto  that  child 
under  the  age  of  thirteen  years,  who  should  most  perfectly  repeat 
the  Catechism,  on  Christmas  Day. 

A  Plain  Case 

The  will  of  E.  J.  Halley  was  filed  for  probate  in  October  last  at 
Memphis,  Tennessee.  It  would  seem  from  attendant  circumstances 
that  Mr.  Halley  was  not  a  teetotaler,  and  that  prohibition  is  not 
entirely  effective  in  Tennessee. 

Mr.  Halley  was  the  foster  son  of  a  lady  known  as  "Joanna  Mad- 
den, the  hermit"  :  contrary  to  the  rule  in  such  matters,  this  hermit 
left  a  large  estate,  consisting  of  gold  and  silver  snugly  put  away 
in  her  home ;  a  squad  of  policemen  escorted  the  money  to  a  local 
bank ;  this  Mr.  Halley  received,  but  he  did  not  live  long  to  enjoy 
it ;  but  it  is  reported,  however,  that  he  did  enjoy  it  while  he  lived. 
Death  came,  and  by  his  will,  duly  executed,  he  left  the  estate  to 
schoolmates,  nurses,  favorite  baseball  players,  deputy  sheriffs,  and 
a  few  orphan  asylums,  for  good  measure ;  with  some  of  the  lega- 
tees he  was  not  acquainted.  Among  other  provisions  in  this 
highly  interesting  testament,  may  be  recited  the  following : 

"To  the  nurse  who  kindly  removed  a  pink  monlvcy  from  the 
foot  of  my  bed,  $5000." 

"To  the  cook  at  the  hospital  who  removed  snakes  from  my 
broth,  $5000." 

The  heirs  at  law  reached  the  conclusion  that  too  high  a  value  had 
been  put  upon  these  services  and  temporary  friendships,  and  filed 
a  bill  to  enjoin  the  payment  of  the  legacies. 

Penchant  for  Paper-knives 
M.  Charles  Assehneau,  a  well-known  Frenchman,  died  in  1874. 
His  estate  appears  to  have  consisted  largely  of  books  and  paper- 
knives.  These  he  disposed  of  by  will  in  a  bequest  to  a  relative. 
He  had  as  many  paper-knives  as  Clapisson  had  whistles  or  Buffon 
butterflies,  and  they  were  all  more  or  less  remarkable  by  reason 
of  the  celebrity  of  the  donors,  or  former  owners,  and  the  unique 


164      ANCIENT,   CURIOUS,  AND  FAMOUS  WILLS 

inscriptions  they  bore.  Those  who  are  interested  may  find  amuse- 
ment, if  not  recreation,  in  an  attempt  to  ascertain  the  point  and 
meaning  of  some  of  the  phrases. 

On  one  given  him  by  Victor  Hugo  we  read :  "  Madame,  il  fait 
grand  vent  et  j'ai  tue  six  loups." 

On  that  of  Ponsard :  "Quand  la  borne  est  franchie,  il  n'y  a  plus 
de  limites." 

On  that  of  Emile  Augier :  "Ce  qui  tombe  au  fosse,  Madame,  est 
au  soldat."     And  so  on. 

In  this  collection  are  paper-knives  that  had  belonged  to  Beranger, 
Bauville,  Autran,  Canaille  Doucet,  and  many  other  French  writers 
of  fame,  each  carefully  enclosed  in  a  case  of  its  own  and  labelled. 

An  Odd  Lot 

There  is  a  well-authenticated  case  of  a  wealthy  man  leaving  his 
riches  to  deserving  old  maids,  but  he  let  his  own  daughters  pine 
in  single  blessedness  for  want  of  portions.  There  was  also  an  indi- 
vidual who  desired  to  set  up  a  lifeboat,  compelling  his  boys  to 
*' paddle  their  own  canoe,"  and  there  is  yet  another  testator  who, 
when  death  approached,  bestowed  his  estate  for  the  planting  of  a 
botanical  garden,  leaving  his  daughters  to  fade  as  wallflowers,  and 
his  sons  to  go  to  seed  in  penury ;  and  these  testamentary  schemes 
were  upheld,  notwithstanding  the  adage  that  "Charity  begins  at 
home." 

A  Butcher  made  Happy 

An  old  Parisian  lady  residing  in  the  Rue  Fontaine  St.  Georges, 
left  by  will  the  whole  of  her  fortune  to  her  butcher.  Its  amount 
was  invested  in  rentes,  and  produced  $7500  a  year. 

The  butcher  was  in  no  way  related  to  her,  did  not  even  know  her 
by  sight,  neither  had  she  ever  seen  him.  As  the  testatrix  had  no 
heirs  either  direct  or  collateral,  and  no  relations,  the  will  was  not 
disputed,  and  the  butcher  glided  quite  comfortably  into  his  new 
position. 

He  used  "Plain  English" 

The  last  will  and  testament  of  Mr.  Daniel  Martinett,  of  Cal- 
cutta, in  the  East  Indies. 

"In  the  name  of  God,  I,  Daniel  Martinett,  of  the  town  of  Cal- 
cutta, being  in  perfect  mind  and  memory,  though  weak  of  body, 
make  this  my  last  Will  and  Testament  in  manner  and  form  follow- 
ing. ...  To  avoid  Latin  phrases,  as  it  is  a  tongue  I  am  not  well 
versed  in,  'I  shall  speak  in  plain  English.' 


ANCIENT,  CURIOUS,  AND  FAMOUS  WILLS      165 

"First.  In  the  most  submissive  manner  I  recommend  my  soul 
to  Almighty  God,  &e. 

"Secondly.  Now  as  to  worldly  concerns,  in  the  following 
manner :  —  As  to  this  fulsome  carcase  having  already  seen  enough 
of  worldly  pomp,  I  desire  nothing  relative  to  it  to  be  done,  only  its 
being  stowed  away  in  my  old  green  chest,  to  avoid  expense;  for 
as  I  lived  profusely,  I  die  frugally. 

"Thirdly.  The  undertaker's  fees  come  to  nothing,  as  I  won 
them  from  him  at  a  game  of  billiards,  in  the  presence  of  Mr.  Thomas 
Morrice  and  William  Perkes,  at  the  said  William  Perkes'  house, 
in  February  last.  I  furthermore  request,  not  only  as  it  is  custom- 
ary, but  as  I  sincerely  believe  the  prayers  of  the  good  availeth,  and 
are  truly  consistent  with  decency,  that  the  Rev.  Mr.  Henry  Butler 
read  the  prayers  which  are  customary  at  burials,  and  also  preach  a 
sermon  on  Sunday  next  after  my  decease,  taking  his  text  from 
Solomon,  "All  is  vanity."  In  consideration  of  which,  over  and 
above  his  fees,  I  bestow  upon  him  all  my  hypocrisy,  which  he  wants 
as  a  modern  good  man ;  but  as  my  finances  are  low,  and  cannot 
conveniently  discharge  his  fees,  I  hope  he  will  please  accept  the 
will  for  the  deed. 

"Fourthly.  To  Henry  Vansittart,  Esq.,  Governor  of  Bengal,  as 
an  opulent  man,  I  leave  the  discharge  of  all  such  sums  of  money 
(the  whole  not  exceeding  300  rupees)  that  I  shall  stand  indebted 
to  indigent  persons  in  the  town  of  Calcutta. 

"Fifthly.  To  Mr.  George  Grey,  Secretary  to  the  Presidency,  I 
bequeath  all  my  sincerity. 

"Sixthly.  To  Mr.  Simon  Drose,  Writer  to  the  Secretary's 
oflBce,  all  my  modesty. 

"Seventhly.  To  Mr.  Henry  Higgenson,  also  of  the  Secretary's 
oflSce,  all  the  thoughts  I  hope  I  shall  die  possessed  of. 

"Eighthly.  To  Mr.  Thomas  Forbes,  all  the  worldly  assurance 
which  I  had  when  I  had  taken  a  cheerful  glass,  though  in  fact  a 
doleful  cup. 

"Ninthly.  My  wearing  apparel,  furniture,  books,  and  every- 
thing else  I  die  possessed  of,  I  bequeath  to  them  who  stand  most 
in  need  of  them,  leaving  it  to  the  discretion  of  my  executor,  Mr. 
Edward  Gulston,  excepting  the  things  after  mentioned :  —  Unto 
Capt.  Edward  Menzies,  late  commander  of  the  ship  Hibernia,  I 
give  my  sea  quadrant,  invented  by  Hadley,  and  made  by  Howell, 
in  the  Strand;  likewise  my  two-feet  Gunter's  scale.  These  I 
give  him  because  I  believe  he  knows  the  use  of  them  better  than 
any  commander  out  of  this  port. 


166      ANCIENT,  CURIOUS,  AND  FAMOUS  WILLS 

"  My  silver  watch  and  buckles  I  give  to  Mr.  Edward  Gulston,  in 
lieu  of  his  sincere  friendship  to  me  during  our  acquaintance ;  and 
these  I  hope  he  will  not  part  with,  unless  his  necessities  require  it, 
which  I  sincerely  hope  will  never  be  the  case. 

"  Also  to  Mr.  Thomas  Forbes  I  give  my  gold  ring  with  a  blue 
stone  set  therein,  which  he  may  exchange  for  a  mourning  one  if  he 
pleases. 

"  I  give  my  Bible  and  Prayer-book  to  the  Rev.  Mr.  Henry 
Butler. 

"  My  sword,  with  a  cut-and-thrust  blade,  I  give  to  Capt. 
Ransulie  Knox,  as  I  verily  believe  he  not  only  knows  how,  but  has 
courage  to  use  it,  and  I  hope  only  in  a  good  cause. 

"  As  I  have  lived  the  make-game  of  a  modern  gentleman,  being 
a  butt  for  envy  and  a  mark  for  malice,  by  acting  a  little  out  of  the 
common  road,  though,  thank  God,  never  in  a  base  way,  I  hope  I 
may  die  in  sincere  love  and  charity  to  all  men,  forgiving  all  my 
persecutors,  as  I  hope  for  forgiveness  from  my  Creator. 

"As  it  lies  not  in  my  power  to  bequeath  anything  to  my  relations 
at  home,  I  shall  say  nothing  concerning  them,  as  they  have  not  for 
these  six  years  past  concerned  themselves  about  me;  excepting 
that  I  heartily  wish  them  all  well,  and  that  my  brothers  and  sisters 
may  make  a  more  prosperous  voyage  through  this  hfe  than  I  have 
done. 

"  (Signed)  Daniel  Maetinett." 

This  original  and  singular  will  was  deposited  in  the  Registry 
Office  at  Calcutta,  Bengal,  after  the  death  of  the  testator,  which 
took  place  in  1825  :  the  governor  of  Bengal  generously  accepted 
the  equivocal  legacy  of  debts  and  paid  them.  Mr.  Martinett  was 
an  officer  of  the  well-known  East  India  Company. 

Had  a  Clamorous  Tongue 

Mr.  Lewis  Evan  Morgan,  an  old  Welsh  gentleman,  died  at 
Gwyllgyth,  in  Glamorganshire,  in  the  ninety-eighth  year  of  his 
age.  His  will  is  neatly  comprised  in  few  words  very  much  to  the 
purpose  :  "I  give  to  my  old  faithful  servant.  Ester  Jones,  the  whole 
that  I  am  possessed  of  either  in  personal  property,  land,  or  other- 
wise. She  is  a  tolerable  good  woman,  but  would  be  much  better 
if  she  had  not  so  clamorous  a  tongue.  She  has,  however,  one 
great  virtue,  which  is  a  veil  to  all  her  foibles  —  strict  honesty." 


ANCIENT,   CURIOUS,  AND  FAMOUS  WILLS      167 

Hated  Lawyers 

General  Hawley,  who  drew  up  his  own  will  "because  of  the  hatred 
and  suspicion  with  which  I  regard  all  lawyers,"  left  "£100  to 
my  servant  Elizabeth  Buskett  because  she  has  proved  herself  a 
useful  and  agreeable  handmaid."  The  rest  of  his  belongings  he 
bequeathed  to  his  adopted  son,  but  provided  that,  if  he  should  be 
foolish  enough  to  marry  the  said  Elizabeth,  neither  was  to  inherit 
a  farthing. 

He  desired  his  executors  to  consign  his  "carcase"  to  any  place 
they  pleased,  and  if  the  parish  priest  should  claim  a  burial  fee,  they 
were  to  "let  the  puppy  have  it." 

A  Pedler  and  his  Dog 

In  the  window  at  the  west  end  of  the  nave  at  St.  Mary's,  Lam- 
beth, in  London,  may  be  seen  a  singular  group  representing  a 
pedler  with  a  pack  on  his  back  followed  by  a  dog.  Its  age  is  not 
known,  but  it  was  there  at  the  end  of  the  sixteenth  century.  It  is 
connected  with  a  piece  of  land  called  Pedler's  Acre,  anciently 
known  as  Church  Hopys,  which  is  entered  in  the  parish  register 
as  bequeathed  by  a  person  unknown.  A  tradition  preserved  in  the 
locality  states  that  this  isthmus  was  given  to  the  parish  to  hold  as 
long  as  the  representation  of  himself  and  his  dog  was  preserved  in 
the  church  window. 

His  Brothers,  Washington  and  Bonaparte 

A  resident  of  an  Eastern  State,  who  died  recently,  reflects  in  his 
will  that  he  was  shunned  by  his  relatives,  "who  cannot,  now  that 
I  am  dying,  do  too  much  for  my  comfort."  But  the  testator,  one 
Dr.  W^agner,  takes  on  these  relations  a  ghastly  revenge.  To  his 
brother,  Napoleon  Bonaparte,  he  bequeathed  his  left  arm  and  hand ; 
to  another  brother,  George  Washington,  his  right  arm  and  hand; 
and  to  others  his  legs,  nose,  ears,  etc.  Further,  the  testator  leaves  a 
thousand  dollars  for  the  dismembering  of  his  body. 

Will  written  on  a  Door 

An  eccentric  testator,  having  been  told  that  so  long  as  the 
proper  formalities  required  by  the  law  of  wills  were  complied  with 
it  was  immaterial  whether  the  said  will  were  written  on  paper, 
parchment,  canvas,  or  wood,  elected  to  write  his  on  his  door. 


168      ANCIENT,  CURIOUS,  AND  FAMOUS  WILLS 

The  executors  had  therefore  no  choice  but  to  have  the  door  un- 
screwed from  its  hinges  and  carried  into  court  for  probate  before 
it  could  be  administered.  The  author  has  not  been  able  to  locate 
the  court  in  which  this  rather  weighty  will  was  probated,  but  its 
existence  is  well  authenticated. 

On  a  Cakd  torn  from  a  Freight  Car 

A  strange  document  was  recently  filed  as  a  will  in  Pittsburgh, 
Pennsylvania.  Robert  J.  McElroy,  after  being  fatally  injured 
by  a  freight  train,  scribbled  on  a  card  torn  from  a  freight  car : 
"Mary,  all  that  is  mine  is  thine."  The  will  left  an  estate  of 
$5200  to  his  wife.  After  writing  the  will,  McElroy  signed  the 
letter  "R,"  but  was  unable  to  finish,  and  other  trainmen  completed 
the  signature.     McElroy  died  on  June  12,  1910. 

His  Will  on  Wrapping-paper 

Joseph  Dwyer  of  Weymouth,  Massachusetts,  died  in  October, 
1910.  His  will  was  probated  in  the  Norfolk  County  Court  at 
Dedham.  This  will  was  unusual  in  that  it  was  written  on  a  piece 
of  grocer's  brown  wrapping-paper.  Under  it  he  gave  to  his  wife  an 
estate  valued  at  $50,000.     The  will  was  held  to  be  valid. 

Will  on  a  Collar  Box 

Nicholas  Zimmer  was  a  passenger  on  the  steamer.  Kaiser  Wil- 
helm  der  Grosse,  on  a  voyage  from  a  European  port  to  the  United 
States,  in  October,  1910. 

In  mid-ocean,  he  mysteriously  disappeared  and  undoubtedly 
jumped  overboard.  He  was  last  seen  on  October  1,  1910,  and 
his  non-appearance  at  meals  the  following  day  led  to  a  search  of 
his  cabin.  Under  a  steamer  rug  was  found  a  collar  box,  on  the  lid 
of  which  was  written  his  last  will  and  testament.  A  search  of  his 
papers  disclosed  that  he  was  sixty  years  of  age  and  an  American. 

During  the  voyage,  he  had  spoken  to  many  of  his  fellow-passen- 
gers, and  had  made  friends  with  some  of  the  stewards.  He  had 
in  no  wise  acted  strangely. 

The  will  written  on  the  lid  of  the  collar  box  bequeathed  seven 
hundred  dollars  in  cash  and  ten  thousand  dollars  in  securities  to 
his  wife.  This  amount  of  cash,  and  the  securities,  were  found  in 
the  box.     When  the  steamer  reached  her  dock,  the  government 


ANCIENT,   CURIOUS,  AND  FAMOUS  WILLS      169 

officials  boarded  the  vessel,  received  the  box  and  forwarded  it  to 
Mrs.  Zimmer. 

Three-word  Will  Invalid 

Recently,  the  Supreme  Court  of  Appeals  of  Virginia  rejected 
the  will  of  the  late  George  T.  Smith,  of  Richmond,  which  was 
composed  of  three  words,  "Everything  is  Lou's,"  in  the  suit  of 
Samuel  H.  Smith,  appellant,  against  Loula  G.  Smith. 

These  three  words  were  written  on  a  page  of  a  book  issued 
by  the  Southern  Railroad  Company  to  its  employees  for  keeping 
records  on  trains. 

The  court  held  that  such  an  instrument  was  not  entitled  to 
probate. 

Man  must  dress  in  Female  Attire 

Money  is  so  generally  welcome  that  it  is  hardly  conceivable  that 
a  legacy  in  cash  would  ever  be  refused.  Occasionally,  however, 
as  a  result  of  the  absurdity  or  harshness  of  the  conditions  attached 
to  legacies,  substantial  bequests  of  this  kind  have  been  declined. 
An  Englishman  refused  a  legacy  of  two  hundred  pounds  because 
it  was  stipulated  that  before  receiving  it  he  must  walk  down  the 
most  important  street  of  a  fashionable  summer  resort  (Brighton) 
"dressed  in  female  attire." 

A  Lion  Sermon 

Sir  John  Gayer,  a  citizen  of  London,  and  lord  mayor  upwards 
of  200  years  ago,  left  by  will  some  money  to  provide  for  a  sermon, 
which  is  preached  at  the  Church  of  St.  Katharine  Cree,  Leadenhall 
Street,  every  October,  in  commemoration  of  his  being  saved  from 
a  Hon  on  the  coast  of  Africa,  in  answer  to  prayer. 

What's  in  a  Name 

A  gentleman  named  Furstone  of  Alton  Hampshire,  England, 
about  to  make  his  will,  and  having  no  family,  left  seven  thousand 
pounds  to  any  man  legitimately  bearing  the  name  of  Furstone,  who 
should  discover  and  marry  a  female  Furstone.  If  the  marriage 
should  result  in  children,  the  sum  was  to  descend  to  the  male  off- 
spring, if  any,  or  to  any  child  or  children  of  the  opposite  sex  who 
should,  after  marriage,  retain  the  name. 


170      ANCIENT,   CURIOUS,  AND  FAMOUS  WILLS 

Would  not  speak  to  the  Legatee 

In  1772,  John  Edmunds,  Esq.,  of  Monmouth,  England,  be- 
queathed a  fortune  of  upwards  of  twenty  thousand  pounds  to  one 
Mills,  a  day  laborer,  residing  near  Monmouth.  Mr.  Edmunds, 
who  had  so  handsomely  provided  for  this  man,  would  not  speak 
to  or  see  him  while  he  lived. 

Only  our  Saviour  could  demand  It 

Recently  a  cynical  old  man  in  a  Western  town  died,  who  in  his 
will  devised  all  his  property  to  that  man  in  the  community  who 
could  prove  that  he  was  a  Christian.  Then  a  definition  of  a  Chris- 
tian was  given,  which  would  exclude  every  one  who  had  lived 
on  earth,  except  the  Saviour  himself :  the  will  was  promptly  set 
aside  and  the  property  given  to  the  legal  heirs. 

To  THROW  Dice  for  Bibles 

A  dissenting  minister  bequeathed  a  sum  of  money  to  his  chapel 
at  St.  Ives,  to  provide  "six  Bibles  every  year,  for  which  six  men 
and  six  women  are  to  throw  dice  on  Whit  Tuesday  after  the  morn- 
ing service,  the  minister  kneeling  the  while  at  the  south  end  of 
the  communion  table,  and  praying  God  to  direct  the  luck  to  His 
glory." 

To  A  Hero  or  his  Mistresses 

A  somewhat  puzzling  task  devolved  upon  a  real  or  imaginary 
body  of  men  in  Pennsylvania.  A  Mr.  Smith  Willie,  in  1880, 
appointed  as  executors  of  his  extraordinary  will,  a  jury  of  honor 
consisting  of  all  the  householders  in  his  native  town,  who  could 
prove  that  they  came  honestly  by  their  fortunes,  each  to  receive 
for  his  trouble  the  sum  of  two  hundred  dollars.  He  computed 
that  there  could  not  be  above  twenty,  and  doubted  whether  that 
number  would  be  reached. 

The  will  itself  is  thus  indited : 

"  Seeing  that  I  have  no  direct  descendants,  and  that  I  am  wholly 
unacquainted  with  those  I  may  possess  collaterally,  I  bequeath 
my  fortune  to  any  one  among  them  who,  in  the  course  of  a  twelve- 
month from  the  date  of  my  death,  may  distinguish  himself  by  an 
act  of  heroism  worthy  of  ancient  times. 

"In  case  none  of  my  collateral  descendants  should  be  justified 
in  making  this  claim,  I    then  leave  all  I  possess  to  be  divided 


ANCIENT,   CURIOUS,  AND  FAMOUS  WILLS      171 

between  all  the  women  who  can  prove  that  they  have  been  my 
mistresses,  be  it  for  ever  so  brief  a  period." 

Imposed  on  the  Nuns 

A  sick  traveller  once  presented  himself  at  the  hospital  of  Auxerre, 
in  France,  where  he  was  received  and  treated  with  the  care  and 
attention  bestowed  on  all  the  sick  who  seek  an  asylum  there.  He 
expressed  his  gratitude  for  the  kindness  shown  him,  and  his 
intention  of  testifying  it  in  a  more  substantial  manner,  begging 
the  nuns  to  let  him  see  a  notary. 

This  functionary  having  obeyed  his  summons,  he  informed  him 
that,  as  an  old  soldier,  he  was  in  the  enjoyment  of  a  retiring-pen- 
sion, and,  ha\nng  earned  a  medal,  of  a  further  allowance ;  that,  in 
addition  to  this  income,  he  owned  a  mortgage  worth  four  thousand 
five  hundred  francs,  of  which  the  title,  as  well  as  his  other  papers, 
was  deposited  with  the  notary  of  the  commune  of  the  Departement 
du  Seine  et  Marne,  where  he  had  a  settlement.  Upon  this  he 
dictated  to  him  a  will,  by  which  he  bequeathed  everything  to  the 
hospital,  upon  the  sole  condition  that  they  should  give  him  a 
decent  and  honorable  burial. 

At  this  time  he  appeared  to  be  recovering,  but  suddenly  his 
state  became  worse,  and  on  the  following  day  he  died. 

To  fulfil  the  promise  exacted  from  them,  the  administrators 
of  the  hospital,  instead  of  supplying  the  simple  funeral  ordinarily 
accorded  to  the  paupers  who  died  there,  responded  liberally  to  the 
behest  of  their  generous  benefactor,  and  accompanied  his  inter- 
ment with  every  mark  of  respect,  after  which  they  went  to  the 
office  indicated  to  claim  the  inheritance  bestowed  on  them.  But 
here  a  new  feature  appeared  in  the  case.  The  mayor  and  the 
notary  of  the  parish  indicated,  expressed  themselves  entirely 
ignorant  whether  of  the  papers  in  question  or  of  the  singular 
testator,  and  on  further  inquiry  they  discovered  him  to  be  no 
more  than  a  wretched  cowherd,  bearing  in  his  neighborhood  a  very 
suspicious  character.  What  his  motive  could  have  been  in  prac- 
tising this  deception  in  his  dying  moments  it  is  difficult  to  guess, 
and  his  conduct  remains  an  instance  of  one  of  those  crookednesses 
of  the  human  mind  we  often  meet  with,  but  do  not  understand. 


172      ANCIENT,   CURIOUS,  AND  FAMOUS  WILLS 

Leaves  Estate  to  Jesus 

One  of  the  most  unique  wills  ever  recorded,  was  filed  recently 
in  Worcester,  Massachusetts.  The  testator,  Charles  Hastings, 
leaves  several  garden  lots  and  buildings,  valued  at  fifty  thousand 
dollars,  to  the  Lord  Jesus,  with  the  explanation  that  He  is  the  right- 
ful owner  of  all  lands,  according  to  the  Bible,  the  first  book  of  Laws. 

The  instrument  is  an  odd  mixture  of  a  deed  and  a  will,  and  was 
drawn  twenty-five  years  ago.  According  to  the  probate  records, 
the  instrument  was  given  in  consideration  of  the  love  and  good- 
will of  the  Lord  and  one  cent  found  in  one  of  the  buildings  conveyed. 

There  was  a  reservation  in  the  instrument,  giving  the  grantor 
the  right  to  use  the  lands  for  life,  and  to  improve  and  repair  the 
houses  and  to  pay  taxes  and  insurance. 

It  may  be  safely  surmised  that  the  title  to  this  property  will 
vest  in  the  heirs  of  the  testator. 

Mr.  Hastings  was  a  resident  of  Ashburnham  and  a  well-known 
citizen. 

A  Spirit  Will 

A  spirit  will  was  rejected  in  Washington,  D.C.,  on  August  12th, 
1910,  by  Justice  Barnard  of  the  Supreme  Court  of  the  District  of 
Columbia. 

Mrs.  Elida  J.  G.  Crowell,  widow  of  William  H.  Crowell,  a  clerk 
in  the  Treasury  Department,  applied  to  the  court  for  the  appoint- 
ment of  the  deceased's  brother  as  administrator  of  his  estate  and 
offered  in  evidence  what  purported  to  be  a  translation  of  an  illeg- 
ible message,  which  Crowell  scribbled  while  on  his  deathbed,  favor- 
ing his  brother's  appointment. 

The  court  was  unable  to  decipher  the  scrawl,  but  Mrs.  Crowell 
said  a  "translation"  had  been  made  for  her  by  a  " slate- writing 
medium."     The  "translation"  in  part  read: 

"Dear  Elida,  — 

"  This  is  what  I  tried  to  write  on  a  slip  of  paper :  *I  want  my 
brother,  W.  H.  H.  Crowell,  Washington,  U.  S.  A.,  if  I  should  pass 
away  with  my  sickness.  I  have  perfect  trust  in  him.  I  believe  he 
will  deal  honestly  with  my  children.  I  have  set  aside  $5000  for 
the  exclusive  use  of  my  wife.  Give  little  Elizabeth  and  brother 
both  $100  to  put  in  the  Savings  Bank.'  Ruby  met  me.  I  have 
seen  many  folk  here.  This  is  a  beautiful  world.  Is  better  than 
the  Sixth  Auditor's  oflBce.  They  can't  put  me  out  here. 
"Date.  June  7,  1910."  "  W.  H.  Crowell. 


ANCIENT,   CURIOUS,   AND  FAMOUS  WILLS      173 

Mystery  of  a  Little  Trunk 

On  September  1st,  1910,  Adolph  Steinberg,  an  old  German 
cobbler,  died  in  Brooklyn,  New  York,  at  36  Snyder  Avenue. 
For  a  quarter  of  a  century  he  had  half-soled  and  mended  shoes  for 
those  who  lived  in  that  section  of  the  city.  Mayor  Gaynor  was 
one  of  his  customers,  and  many  other  prominent  men  used  to  go  to 
his  little  shop  to  have  their  shoes  repaired. 

There  always  lay  close  to  Steinberg's  feet,  as  he  stitched  away, 
a  little  metal  trunk  that  was  never  out  of  his  sight  a  moment  during 
the  day.  It  was  never  open,  and  no  one  ever  caught  a  glimpse  of 
its  contents.  At  night  it  was  placed  under  Steinberg's  bed,  and  in 
the  morning  he  would  pull  it  out  and  drag  it  over  to  his  bench. 

Steinberg's  solicitude  for  the  trunk  finally  caused  comment 
among  his  customers,  and  the  report  got  out  that  the  old  cobbler 
kept  his  money  and  valuables  there,  and  that  a  snug  fortune  was 
locked  up  in  the  little  box.  It  was  known  that  Steinberg  was  well 
to  do,  and  for  many  years  he  used  to  lend  out  money  to  people  who 
were  temporarily  out  of  funds.  In  such  cases,  he  would  get  them 
to  leave  a  watch  or  some  other  article  of  value  as  security.  When 
they  called  to  repay,  Steinberg  would  return  their  valuables,  charg- 
ing them  no  interest  for  the  money  loaned. 

In  the  course  of  many  years,  Steinberg  accumulated  quite  a  col- 
lection of  watches  and  trinkets,  because  many  of  those  to  whom  he 
lent  money  never  came  back  to  claim  their  valuables.  So  the 
collection  grew  and  grew. 

By  his  will  Steinberg  directed  that  the  trunk  be  not  opened  until 
thirty  days  after  his  death.  His  wife  and  children  respected  his 
wish,  and  much  to  their  satisfaction  found  it  contained  securities 
and  other  property  of  considerable  value,  an  accumulation  of  many 
years. 

Dolly  Vakden  Garters  and  other  Matters 

The  following  are  extracts  from  some  recent  English  wills : 
Thomas  Blyth,  after  directing  that  no  person  was  to  wear  mourning 
for  him  out  of  his  money,  goes  on  to  say  :  "But  I  cannot  forget  the 
kindness  of  the  ladies  who  have  promised  to  wear  Dolly  Varden 
garters  of  black  and  white  as  a  mark  of  respect  for  my  memory." 
William  Hampton,  after  leaving  to  his  son  Lawrie's  "Interest 
Tables,"  says  he  does  so,  "not  from  its  intrinsic  value,  but  from  the 
hope  that  so  small  an  incident  may  be  of  use  to  him  in  future  years. 
And  I  particularly  recommend  to  him  the  study  of  the  compound 


174      ANCIENT,   CURIOUS,  AND  FAMOUS  WILLS 

interest  tables,  as  showing  that  from  comparatively  small  invest- 
ments, by  patience,  large  sums  may  be  realized."  James  Brown 
evidently  believed  in  every  man  voting  according  to  his  own 
political  convictions,  for  after  leaving  to  a  nephew  two  cottages, 
"for  which  he  is  to  get  his  vote  on,"  adds,  "and  to  vote  the  way 
which  he  likes  best."  William  Farren's  statement  as  to  the  char- 
acter of  Cambridge  undergraduates  is,  we  hope  and  believe,  un- 
founded :  he  hopes  by  his  disposition  of  his  property,  "to  save  his 
family  from  keeping  or  living  in  an  undergraduate  lodging-house, 
as  undergraduates  are  more  like  wolves  and  dogs  than  human 
beings." 

Ostentation 

Matthew  Wall  of  Braughing,  Hertfordshire,  England,  by  will,  in 
1595,  charged  all  his  lands  and  tenements  in  the  parish  of  Braugh- 
ing with  the  yearly  payment  of  twenty  shillings,  to  be  distributed 
by  the  minister  and  churchwardens  on  St.  Matthew's  Day,  in  the 
following  manner : 

To  the  sexton,  to  make  up  his  grave  yearly,  and  to  ring  the  bell. 
Is.  lOd.  To  twenty  boys,  between  the  age  of  six  and  sixteen, 
twenty  groats.  To  ten  aged  and  impotent  people  of  the  parish, 
ten  threepences.  To  sweep  the  path  from  his  house  to  the  church- 
gate  every  year,  Is.  To  the  crier  of  Stortford,  to  make  proclama- 
tion yearly,  on  Ascension  and  Michaelmas  Day,  that  he  left  his 
estate  to  a  Matthew,  or  William  Wall,  as  long  as  the  world  should 
endure,  8d.  To  the  parish  clerk  at  Hallingbury  for  the  same, 
8d.,  and  to  the  minister  and  churchwardens,  to  see  his  will  per- 
formed, 5s. 

Powder  Plot  and  Spanish  Armada 

Robert  Wilcox,  of  Alcester, Warwickshire,  England,  by  will,  dated 
24th  of  December,  1627,  gave  a  house  and  grounds  to  the  town  of 
Alcester,  for  the  maintenance  of  three  sermons  in  the  year,  viz. : 

"One  upon  the  5th  of  November,  in  remembrance  of  our  happy 
deliverance,  with  our  king,  nobles  and  states,  from  the  pestilent 
design  of  the  Papists  in  the  Powder  Plot ;  one  on  the  17th  of 
November,  in  remembrance  of  that  good  Queen  Elizabeth,  her 
entrance  unto  the  Crown ;  and  the  third  upon  the  last  day  of 
July,  in  remembrance  of  the  Lord's  gracious  deliverance  from  the 
Spanish  Armada,  in  '88." 

And  whereas  the  rent  was  20s.  by  the  year  then,  and  the  good- 
wife,  Lilly,  having  her  life  in  it,  after  her  decease  no  doubt  the  house 


ANCIENT,   CURIOUS,  AND  FAMOUS  WILLS      175 

and  close  would  be  worth  305.  by  the  year ;  then  his  will  was  that 
the  said  overplus  should  be  given  to  the  poor  every  year,  as  the 
rent  should  come  in,  forever. 

More  Generous  than  Polite 

The  will  of  Edward  Wortley  Montagu,  son  of  Mr.  Montagu, 
Ambassador  to  Constantinople  in  1716,  by  Lady  Mary  Wortley 
Montagu,  his  wife,  the  supposed  "Sappho"  of  Pope,  is  more  than 
singular.     After  some  bequest  "to  my  noble  and  worthy  relation, 

the  Earl  of ,"  he  adds,  "I  do  not  give  his  lordship  any  further 

part  of  my  property  because  the  best  part  of  that  he  has  contrived 

to  take  already.     Item,  to  Sir  Francis I  give  one  word  of 

mine,  because  he  has  never  had  the  good  fortune  to  keep  his  own. 

Item,  to  Lord  M I  give  nothing,  because  I  know  he'll  bestow 

it  on  the  poor.     Item,  to  the  author,  for  putting  me  in  his 

travels,  I  give  five  shillings  for  his  wit,  undeterred  by  the  charge  of 
extravagance,  since  friends  who  have  read  his  book  consider  five 
shillings  too  much.  Item,  to  Sir  Robert  W I  leave  my  polit- 
ical opinions,  never  doubting  he  can  well  turn  them  into  cash, 
who  has  always  found  such  an  excellent  market  in  which  to  change 
his  own.     Item,  my  cast-off  habit  of  swearing  oaths  I  give  to  Sir 

Leopold  D ,  in  consideration  that  no  oaths  have  ever  been  able 

to  find  him  yet." 

From  some  quarrel  with  his  family  he  advertised  for  some  widow 
or  single  lady  of  good  manners  likely  to  bring  him  an  heir   in 

months.     This  treasure  to  his  arms  his  valet  brought  by  his 

desire  to  meet  him  at  Venice,  from  England;  but  as  the  ship  of 
Wortley  Montagu  was  entering  the  Venetian  lagunes,  to  wed  the 
chaste  bride  on  the  following  day,  the  eager  and  expectant  bride- 
groom swallowed  too  hastily  a  chicken  bone,  which,  sticking  in  his 
throat,  suffocated  him  in  a  few  minutes. 

To   ENCOURAGE    MaTRIMONY   AND   HoRSE-RACING 

By  a  deed,  dated  12th  of  August,  1801,  executed  in  pursuance 
of  a  decree  in  Chancery,  relative  to  the  will  of  John  Perram  of  New 
Market,  England,  dated  30th  of  May,  1772,  the  trustees  of  a  sum 
of  £410  6s.  Id.  Three  Per  Cent  Consols  and  £21  Bank  Long  Annui- 
ties, being  the  original  sum  given  by  the  will,  together  with  such 
accumulations  thereon  which  had  accrued  during  the  proceedings 
in  Chancery,  were  declared;    to  hold  them  upon  trust,  six  weeks 


176      ANCIENT,   CURIOUS,  AND  FAMOUS  WILLS 

at  least  before  Easter,  to  cause  notice  to  be  given,  as  therein 
directed,  that  a  marriage  portion  of  £21  would  be  given  to  a  parish- 
ioner of  the  said  parish,  who  should,  on  Thursday  in  the  Easter 
week,  be  married  at  the  church  to  a  woman  belonging  to  it; 
neither  party  to  be  under  twenty,  nor  to  exceed  twenty-five  years 
of  age,  nor  be  worth  £20 ;  the  trustees  to  attend  in  the  vestry  to 
receive  claims,  and  pay  the  bequest  to  such  couples  as  should  be 
qualified  to  receive  it.  In  case  of  two  claims,  the  determination 
to  be  by  ballot  who  should  receive  it.  In  case  of  no  claimants, 
then  the  money,  for  that  year  only,  to  be  paid  by  the  trustees  to 
the  winner  of  the  next  town  horse-race;  the  race  course  at  New 
Market  is  four  miles  long  and  is  regarded  the  finest  in  the  world. 

Bequests  of  the  Human  Brain 
Both  in  France  and  the  United  States  there  exist  medical 
societies  which  make  a  special  study  of  the  human  brain.  In 
the  United  States  a  regular  blank  form  of  testamentary  bequest 
has  been  formulated,  and  the  brains  of  a  number  of  prominent 
persons,  particularly  those  of  doctors,  have  passed  under  its  pro- 
visions ;   a  form  used  is  here  given : 

"I,  ,  of  ,  recognizing  the  need  of  studying  the 

brains  of  educated  and  orderly  persons  rather  than  those  of  the 
ignorant,  criminal  or  insane,  in  order  to  determine  their  weight, 
form,  and  fissural  patterns,  the  correlations  with  bodily  and 
mental  powers  of  various  kinds  and  degrees,  and  the  influences 
of  sex,  age  and  inheritance,  hereby  declare  my  wish,  that  at  my 
death,  my  brain  shall  be  entrusted  to  the  Cornell  Brain  Associa- 
tion, or  to  the  Curator  of  the  Collection  of  human  brains,  in  the 
Museum  of  Cornell  University,  for  scientific  uses,  and  for  preser- 
vation, as  a  whole  or  in  part,  as  may  be  thought  best.  If  my  near 
relatives,  by  blood  or  marriage,  object  seriously  to  the  fulfilment  of 
this  bequest,  it  shall  be  void.  I  earnestly  hope  that  they  may 
interpose  neither  objection  nor  obstacle. 

Date *' . 

Witnesses : 


Medical  works  state  that  college  professors  are  among  the 
individuals  best  adapted  to  subserve  the  purposes  indicated,  by 
reason  of  their  sharply  defined  capacities  and  attainments ;  lawyers, 
doctors  and  preachers  seem  to  come  next  in  favor. 


ANCIENT,   CURIOUS,    AND  FAMOUS  WILLS     177 

It  will  be  recalled  that  the  late  Florence  Nightingale  by  will  left 
her  body  for  dissection  and  the  cause  of  medical  science. 

Must  settle  Disputes 

Mrs.  Susan  M.  Corning  died  recently  at  Rockaway  Beach,  New 
York,  leaving  an  estate  valued  at  several  thousand  dollars.  By 
an  unusual  clause  in  her  will  she  appointed  an  arbitration  com- 
mittee to  pass  upon  any^ dispute  which  might  arise  in  the  distribu- 
tion of  her  estate.     The  clause  reads : 

"It  is  my  express  will  and  wish  and  I  hereby  order  and  direct 
that  if  any  differences  shall  arise  concerning  any  gift,  bequest  or 
other  thing  in  this  will,  no  suit  shall  be  brought  over  the  same,  but 
the  said  difference  shall  be  referred  wholly  to  George  Bennett, 
Louis  Kreusher  and  Albert  Meisel,  all  of  Rockaway  Beach,  and 
what  they  order  and  direct  shall  be  binding  and  conclusive  to  all 
persons  concerned." 

There  seems  some  reason  to  question  the  legality  of  such  a  pro- 
vision. 

Long  on  Trousers 

A  New  Yorker  dying  in  1880  supposed  to  be  sane,  left  this  will : 

"I  bequeath  all  my  fortune  to  my  nephews  and  nieces,  seven  in 
number. 

"They  are  to  share  it  equally,  and  on  no  account  to  go  to  law 
about  it,  on  pain  of  forfeiting  their  respective  shares. 

"I  own  seventy-one  pairs  of  trousers,  and  I  strictly  enjoin  my 
executors  to  hold  a  public  sale  at  which  these  shall  be  sold  to  the 
highest  bidder,  and  the  proceeds  distributed  to  the  poor  of  the 
city. 

"I  desire  that  these  garments  shall  in  no  way  be  examined  or 
meddled  with,  but  be  disposed  of  as  they  are  found  at  the  time 
of  my  death ;  and  no  one  purchaser  is  to  buy  more  than  one  pair." 

As  the  testator  had  always  been  more  or  less  eccentric  in  his 
ways,  no  one  was  much  surprised  at  these  singular  clauses,  which 
were  religiously  observed.  The  sale  was  held,  and  the  seventy-one 
pairs  of  trousers  were  sold  to  seventy-one  different  purchasers. 
One  of  these,  in  examining  the  pockets,  discovered  in  the  fob  a 
packet  of  some  sort,  closely  sewn  up.  He  lost  no  time  in  cutting 
the  thread,  and  was  not  a  little  surprised  to  find  a  bundle  of  bank- 
notes representing  a  thousand  dollars.  The  news  soon  spread, 
and  each  of  the  others  found  himself  possessed  of  a  similar  amount. 


178      ANCIENT,   CURIOUS,  AND  FAMOUS  WILLS 

As  may  be  supposed,  all  were  well  satisjBed  except  the  heirs, 
who  could  not  find  redress  in  law,  this  recourse  being  prohibited. 

Complication  over  Horses 

In  a  celebrated  case,  frequently  quoted,  the  testator  bequeathed 
to  the  plaintiff,  "all  my  black  and  white  horses."  Now  the 
testator  had  six  black  horses,  six  white  horses  and  six  pied  horses, 
and  the  question  was  whether  the  pied  horses  passed  under  the 
terms  of  the  bequest.  After  elaborate  argument,  judgment  was 
given  for  the  plaintiff,  and  then  it  was  moved  in  arrest  of  judg- 
ment that  the  pied  horses  were  mares. 

Must  marry  "Anton"  or  "Antonie" 

An  eccentric  Frenchman  left  his  estate  to  his  six  nephews  and 
six  nieces  on  the  condition  that  "every  one  of  my  nephews  marries 
a  woman  named  Antonie  and  that  every  one  of  my  nieces  marries 
a  man  named  Anton."  They  were  further  required  to  give  the 
Christian  name  Antonie  or  Anton  to  every  first-born  child  accord- 
ing to  the  sex.  The  marriage  of  each  nephew  was  to  be  celebrated 
on  one  of  the  St.  Anthony's  Days,  either  January  17th,  May  10th, 
or  June  13th,  and  if,  in  any  instance,  this  last  provision  was  not 
complied  with  before  July,  1896,  one-half  of  the  legacy  was  in  that 
case  to  be  forfeited. 

Must  sing  Anthems 

Elizabeth  Townsend  of  Westbury,  Wilts,  England,  widow,  by 
her  will,  dated  11th  of  June,  1820,  gave  unto  the  churchwardens 
and  overseers  of  the  parish  of  Westbury  as  much  money  as  should 
be  sufficient,  when  invested  in  the  stocks,  to  yield  the  yearly  sum 
of  £3  clear  of  all  deductions,  upon  trust  to  pay  the  dividends  thereof 
unto  the  vicar,  organist,  parish  clerk,  and  choir  of  the  parish  church 
of  Westbury,  for  the  time  being,  upon  special  condition  that  the 
said  choir  should  forever  thereafter,  in  the  morning  and  afternoon 
service,  at  the  parish  church,  on  the  Sunday  preceding  the  24th  of 
June  in  each  year,  sing  the  anthem  composed  by  her  late  husband's 
grandfather,  Roger  Townsend,  from  the  150th  Psalm,  and  also  the 
112th  Psalm,  for  which  the  vicar  was  to  have  4s.,  the  organist 
10s.,  the  clerk  5s.,  and  4*.  apiece  to  the  choir  singers,  viz.,  two 
counter,  two  tenor,  three  treble,  and  three  bass  singers,  and  in 
default  of  their  singing,  then  to  divide  such  £3  amongst  the  poor 
at  Christmas. 


ANCIENT,   CURIOUS,  AND  FAMOUS  WILLS      179 

The  same  person  made  a  similar  bequest  to  the  choir  of  the 
parish  church  of  Warminster,  Wilts. 

Will  of  Dr.  Dunlop 

The  humorous  will  of  Dr.  Dunlop  of  Upper  Canada  is  worth 
recording,  though  there  is  a  spice  of  mahce  in  every  bequest  it 
contains. 

To  his  five  sisters  he  left  the  following  bequests : 

"To  my  eldest  sister  Joan,  my  five-acre  field,  to  console  her  for 
being  married  to  a  man  she  is  obhged  to  henpeck. 

"To  my  second  sister  Sally,  the  cottage  that  stands  beyond  the 
said  field  with  its  garden,  because  as  no  one  is  likely  to  marry  her 
it  will  be  large  enough  to  lodge  her. 

"To  my  third  sister  Kate,  the  family  Bible,  recommending  her 
to  learn  as  much  of  its  spirit  as  she  already  knows  of  its  letter, 
that  she  may  become  a  better  Christian, 

"To  my  fourth  sister  Mary,  my  grandmother's  silver  snuff-box, 
that  she  may  not  be  ashamed  to  take  snuff  before  company. 

"To  my  fifth  sister,  Lydia,  my  silver  drinking-cup,  for  reasons 
known  to  herself. 

"To  my  brother  Ben,  my  books,  that  he  may  learn  to  read 
with  them. 

"  To  my  brother  James,  my  big  silver  watch,  that  he  may  know 
the  hour  at  which  men  ought  to  rise  from  their  beds. 

"To  my  brother-in-law  Jack,  a  punch-bowl,  because  he  will  do 
credit  to  it. 

"To  my  brother-in-law  Christopher,  my  best  pipe,  out  of  grati- 
tude that  he  married  my  sister  Maggie  whom  no  man  of  taste 
would  have  taken. 

"To  my  friend  John  Caddell,  a  silver  teapot,  that,  being  af- 
flicted with  a  slatternly  wife,  he  may  therefrom  drink  tea  to  his 
comfort." 

While  "old  John's"  eldest  son  was  made  legatee  of  a  silver 
tankard,  which  the  testator  objected  to  leave  to  old  John  himself, 
lest  he  should  commit  the  sacrilege  of  melting  it  down  to  make 
temperance  medals. 

Vanity  follows  us  to  the  Grave 

John  Troutbeck  of  Dacre,  Cumberland,  England,  by  will, 
dated  27th  of  October,  1787,  gave  to  the  poor  of  Dacre,  the  place  of 


180      ANCIENT,   CURIOUS,  AND  FAMOUS  WILLS 

his  nativity,  £200,  the  interest  thereof  to  be  distributed  every 
Easter  Sunday  on  the  family  tombstone  in  Dacre  churchyard, 
provided  the  day  should  be  fine,  by  the  hands  and  at  the  discretion 
of  a  Troutbeck  of  Blencowe,  if  there  should  be  any  living,  those 
next  in  descent  having  prior  right  of  distribution;  and  if  none 
should  be  Uving  that  would  distribute  the  same,  then  by  a  Trout- 
beck,  as  long  as  one  could  be  found  that  would  take  the  trouble  of 
it ;  otherwise  by  the  minister  and  churchwardens  of  the  parish  for 
the  time  being;  that  not  less  than  five  shillings  should  be  given 
to  any  individual,  and  that  none  should  be  considered  entitled  to 
it  that  received  alms,  or  any  support  from  the  parish. 

Temperance  and  Early  Rising  enjoined 

In  the  will  of  the  late  Mr.  J.  Sargeant,  of  Leicester,  England, 
who  died  some  forty  years  ago,  is  the  following  clause:  "As  my 
nephews  are  fond  of  indulging  themselves  in  bed  in  the  morning, 
and  as  I  wish  them  to  prove  to  the  satisfaction  of  my  executors 
that  they  have  got  out  of  bed  in  the  morning,  and  either  employed 
themselves  in  business  or  taken  exercise  in  the  open  air,  from  five 
to  eight  o'clock  every  morning  from  the  fifth  of  April  to  the  10th 
of  October,  being  three  hours  every  day,  and  from  seven  to  nine 
o'clock  in  the  morning  from  the  10th  of  October  to  the  5th  of  April, 
being  two  hours  every  morning ;  this  is  to  be  done  for  some  years, 
during  the  first  seven  years  to  the  satisfaction  of  my  executors, 
who  may  excuse  them  in  case  of  illness,  but  the  task  must  be  made 
up  when  they  are  well,  and  if  they  will  not  do  this,  they  shall  not 
receive  any  share  of  my  property.  Temperance  makes  the  facul- 
ties clear,  and  exercise  makes  them  vigorous.  It  is  temperance  and 
exercise  that  can  alone  ensure  the  fittest  state  for  mental  or  bodily 
exertion." 

Picture  of  a  Viper  as  a  Bequest 

The  following  is  an  extract  from  the  will  of  John  Hylett  Stow, 
proved  in  1781 : 

"I  hereby  direct  my  executors  to  lay  out  five  guineas  in  the 
purchase  of  a  picture  of  the  viper  biting  the  benevolent  hand  of 
the  person  who  saved  him  from  perishing  in  the  snow,  if  the  same 
can  be  bought  for  the  money ;  and  that  they  do,  in  memory  of  me, 

present  it  to ,  Esq.,  a  king's  counsel,  whereby  he  may  have 

frequent  opportunities  of  contemplating  it,  and,  by  a  comparison 
between  that  and  his  own  virtue,  be  able  to  form  a  certain  judg- 


ANCIENT,  CURIOUS,  AND  FAMOUS  WILLS      181 

ment  which  is  best  and  most  profitable,  a  grateful  remembrance 
of  past  friendship  and  almost  parental  regard,  or  ingratitude  and 
insolence.  This  I  direct  to  be  presented  to  him  in  lieu  of  a  legacy 
of  three  thousand  pounds  I  had  by  a  former  will,  now  revoked 
and  burned,  left  him." 

This  wdll  provoked  a  suit  for  libel,  a  proceeding  not  altogether 
unknown,  for  defamation  contained  in  a  testamentary  document, 
though  such  proceedings  are  rare.  Mr.  John  Marshall  Gest  of 
Philadelphia  refers  to  this  clause  in  his  excellent  address  on 
"Practical  Suggestions  for  Writing  Wills."  It  is  also  to  be  found 
in  the  "Curiosities  of  the  Search  Room,"  an  English  work  of  the 
highest  merit. 

No  Cruelty  to  Animals 

Grates  v.  Fraser.  This  was  a  suit  for  the  administration  of  the 
estate  of  the  late  Dr.  Fraser,  of  Hampstead,  England,  who  left  a 
large  amount  of  property  to  be  distributed  among  various  charities. 
The  will,  probated  in  1878,  contained  several  very  singular  clauses, 
one  of  which  was  to  this  effect :  That  he  had  previously  left  ten 
thousand  pounds  to  the  Senatus  Academicus  of  the  University  of 
Edinburgh,  for  the  purpose  of  founding  certain  bursaries  connected 
with  the  medical  profession,  but  having  learnt  that  the  horrible 
and  atrocious  practice  prevailed  there  of  performing  unspeakably 
cruel  operations  and  experiments  on  living  animals,  he  now  by  his 
will  cancelled  the  bequest,  and  desired  to  benefit  the  Scottish 
Society  for  Prevention  of  Cruelty  to  Animals  to  a  similar  extent, 
since  he  could  not  reconcile  it  with  his  feelings  to  encourage,  how- 
ever remotely,  the  barbarous  practice  of  vivisection.  The  testa- 
tor also  directed  that  his  funeral  should  be  conducted  with  as  little 
parade  as  possible,  without  cloaks,  hatbands,  or  scarfs,  and  that 
no  feathers,  wands,  or  other  absurdities  should  be  used  on  the  occa- 
sion, and  that  the  ridiculous  display  of  hired  mourners,  mutes, 
or  attendants,  be  dispensed  with.  Most  sensible  people,  he  con- 
tinued, condemn  the  above  useless  customs,  but  nevertheless, 
from  vanity  or  in  blind  obedience  to  antiquated  usages,  perpetuate 
and  encourage  them.  He  then  directed  his  body  to  be  buried  in 
any  cemetery,  without  reference  to  its  being  what  was  called 
"consecrated"  or  " unconsecrated "  ground,  or  whether  any  service 
should  be  repeated  at  the  grave  or  not,  as  these  were  matters 
about  which  he  was  utterly  indifferent;  they  could  avail  him 
nothing,  but  might,  if  the  weather  were  cold,  cause  the  health  of 
some  friend  to  suffer. 


182      ANCIENT,   CURIOUS,  AND  FAMOUS   WILLS 

Whiskey  to  exterminate  the  Irish 

An  English  gentleman,  who  had  from  his  earliest  years  been 
educated  with  the  most  violent  prejudices  against  the  Irish,  came, 
when  advanced  in  life,  to  inherit  a  considerable  property  in  the 
county  of  Tipperary,  but  under  the  express  condition  that  he  should 
reside  on  the  land.  To  this  decree  he  very  reluctantly  conformed, 
but  his  feelings  towards  the  natives  only  grew  more  bitter  in  conse- 
quence. 

At  his  death  some  years  after,  on  the  17th  of  March,  1791,  his 
executors  were  extremely  surprised  on  opening  his  will  to  find  the 
following  dispositions : 

"I  give  and  bequeath  the  annual  sum  of  ten  pounds,  to  be  paid 
in  perpetuity  out  of  my  estate,  to  the  following  purpose.  It  is  my 
will  and  pleasure  that  this  sum  shall  be  spent  in  the  purchase  of  a 
certain  quantity  of  the  liquor  vulgarly  called  whisky,  and  it  shall 
be  publicly  given  out  that  a  certain  number  of  persons,  Irish  only, 
not  to  exceed  twenty,  who  may  choose  to  assemble  in  the  cemetery 
in  which  I  shall  be  interred,  on  the  anniversary  of  my  death,  shall 
have  the  same  distributed  to  them.  Further,  it  is  my  desire  that 
each  shall  receive  it  by  half-a-pint  at  a  time  till  the  whole  is  con- 
sumed, each  being  likewise  provided  with  a  stout  oaken  stick  and  a 
knife,  and  that  they  shall  drink  it  all  on  the  spot.  Knowing  what 
I  know  of  the  Irish  character,  my  conviction  is,  that  with  these 
materials  given,  they  will  not  fail  to  destroy  each  other,  and  when 
in  the  course  of  time  the  race  comes  to  be  exterminated,  this  neigh- 
bourhood at  least  may,  perhaps,  be  colonized  by  civilized  and 
respectable  Englishmen." 

Must  wait  One  Hundred  Years 

A  very  curious  will  was  that  of  a  Polish  landlord,  M.  Zalesky, 
who  died  in  1889,  leaving  property  valued  at  one  hundred  thou- 
sand roubles.  His  will  was  enclosed  in  an  envelope  bearing  the 
words:  "To  be  opened  after  my  death."  Inside  there  was  an- 
other envelope,  "To  be  opened  six  weeks  after  my  death."  When 
this  time  had  passed,  the  second  envelope  was  opened,  and  a  third 
uncovered,  "To  be  opened  one  year  after  my  death."  At  the  end 
of  the  year,  a  fourth  envelope  was  discovered,  to  be  opened  two 
years  after  the  testator's  death;  and  so  the  game  went  on  until 
1894,  when  the  actual  will  was  discovered  and  read.  The  contents 
of  this  will  were  quite  as  eccentric  as  the  directions  attached  to  its 


ANCIENT,   CURIOUS,  AND  FAMOUS  WILLS      183 

opening.  The  testator  bequeathed  half  his  fortune  to  such  of  his 
heirs  as  had  the  largest  number  of  children.  The  rest  of  the 
property  was  to  be  placed  in  bank,  and  a  hundred  years  after  his 
death  to  be  divided,  with  the  accumulated  interest,  among  the 
will-maker's  descendants. 

Will  of  an  Irish  Miser 

An  Irishman  named  Dennis  Tolam,  who  died  at  Cork  possessed 
of  considerable  wealth,  in  the  year  1769,  left  a  singular  will,  con- 
taining the  following  testamentary  dispositions:  "I  leave  to  my 
sister-in-law  four  old  stockings,  which  will  be  found  under  my 
mattress,  to  the  right.  Item :  To  my  nephew,  Michael  Tarles, 
two  odd  socks  and  a  green  nightcap.  Item  :  To  Lieutenant  John 
Stein,  a  blue  stocking,  with  my  red  cloak.  Item :  To  my  cousin, 
Barbara  Dolan,  an  old  boot,  with  a  red  flannel  pocket.  Item : 
To  Hannah,  my  housekeeper,  my  broken  water-jug."  After  the 
death  of  the  testator,  the  legatees  having  been  convened  by  the 
notary  to  be  present  at  the  reading  of  the  will,  each,  as  he  or  she 
was  named,  shrugged  their  shoulders  and  otherwise  expressed  a 
contemptuous  disappointment,  while  parties  uninterested  in  the 
succession  could  not  refrain  from  laughing  at  these  ridiculous, 
not  to  say  insulting,  legacies.  All  were  leaving  the  room,  after 
signifying  their  intention  of  renouncing  their  bequests,  when  the 
last-named,  Hannah,  having  testified  her  indignation  by  kicking 
away  the  broken  pitcher,  a  number  of  coins  rolled  out  of  it ;  the 
other  individuals,  astonished  at  the  unexpected  incident,  began  to 
think  better  of  their  determination,  and  requested  permission  to 
examine  the  articles  given  to  them.  It  is  needless  to  say  that, 
on  proceeding  to  the  search,  the  stockings,  socks,  pocket,  etc., 
soon  betrayed  by  their  weight  the  value  of  their  contents ;  and  the 
hoard  of  the  testator,  thus  fairly  distributed,  left  on  the  minds  of 
the  legatees  a  very  different  impression  of  his  worth. 

Must  not  marry  a  Domestic  Servant 

A  curious  and  peculiarly  hard  case  came  before  a  Vice-Chancellor 
in  London  in  1880.  The  facts  are  as  follows  :  A  Miss  Turner  de- 
vised a  large  amount  of  real  estate  to  her  father  for  life,  and  then  to 
her  brother  on  these  conditions:  "But  if  my  brother  shall  marry 
during  my  life  without  my  consent  in  writing,  or  if  he  shall  already 
have  married,  or  hereafter  shall  marry,  a  domestic  servant,"  then 


184      ANCIENT,   CURIOUS,  AND  FAMOUS  WILLS 

such  bequest  to  her  brother  was  to  be  void.  It  appears  the  brother 
came  into  possession  of  the  estate  and  died  in  1898,  leaving  a  widow 
and  two  children.  Suit  was  instituted  against  the  widow  and  chil- 
dren on  the  ground  that  the  testatrix's  brother  had  forfeited  his 
title  to  the  legacy  by  marrying  a  domestic  servant.  It  was  con- 
tended on  behalf  of  the  widow  that  she  had  been  a  housekeeper, 
and  not  a  domestic  servant.  The  Vice-Chancellor,  however,  was  of 
the  opinion  that  a  housekeeper  was  a  domestic  servant,  and  thus 
the  legacy  was  forfeited. 

To  Sing  in  Opera 

Stanislas  Poltzmarz,  a  Hungarian,  possessed  of  considerable 
wealth,  and  residing  at  Pesth,  died  about  1835,  bequeathing  the 
larger  part  of  his  fortune,  consisting  of  three  million  florins,  to  a 
notary  named  Lotz,  but  stipulated  that  before  claiming  it  he  should 
engage  himself  at  the  Scala  at  Milan,  to  perform  in  the  operas  of 
"Otello"  and  "La  Sonnambula."  The  testator,  who  was  eighty 
years  of  age,  deprecates  being  considered  in  his  dotage,  and  takes 
the  trouble  to  explain  that,  having  some  few  years  before  met  the 
said  Lotz  at  an  evening  party,  where  he  had  sung  fragments  of  the 
parts  of  Elvino  and  Otello,  he  had  admired  the  beauty  of  his  tenor 
voice,  and  predicted  that  it  only  depended  on  himself  to  become  the 
favorite  of  the  whole  musical  world.  "  If,  therefore,"  he  concludes, 
"I  am  right,  he  will  thank  me,  and  so  will  all  dilettanti,  for  my  acu- 
men; if,  on  the  other  hand,  he  should  fail,  he  will  have  money 
enough  to  compensate  for  the  hisses  he  may  incur." 

Haer  of  the  Prophet's  Beard 

"The  Prophet's  Beard  Case,"  which  created  a  sensation  among 
the  followers  of  the  Prophet  at  Madras,  was  called  on  for  final  dis- 
posal before  Mr.  Justice  Innes,  Acting  Chief  Justice,  in  August, 
1879.  The  subject  of  dispute  was  a  hair  of  the  Prophet's  beard, 
which  is  enclosed  in  a  case  and  is  called  the  "  Aussaree  Shareef,"  or 
sacred  relic,  and  in  connection  with  which  the  Government  allows  a 
monthly  pension  of  Rs.  47-14-4,  obtained  from  funds  left  by  a  late 
Nabob  for  the  purpose  of  carrying  out  ceremonies  in  connection  with 
the  sacred  relic.  There  were,  when  the  case  was  first  instituted,  no 
less  than  six  claimants,  two  by  right  of  a  will,  the  others  claiming 
it  in  succession  from  generations.     Two  of  the  claimants  and  the 


ANCIENT,   CURIOUS,  AND  FAMOUS  WILLS      185 

plaintiff  withdrew  from  the  suit,  leaving  only  four  to  establish  their 
rights  to  the  sacred  heirloom.  His  lordship,  in  a  lengthy  judgment, 
decided  that  the  first,  third,  and  fourth  defendants  were  entitled  to 
the  sacred  relic ;  but  as  the  first  defendant  was  a  woman  she  could 
not  hold  office  in  connection  with  it,  and  as  No.  3  was  the  elder 
brother  of  No.  4,  he  directed  that  he  should  hold  the  "Aussaree 
Shareef,"  and  perform  all  ceremonies  in  connection  with  it,  making 
three  equal  shares  of  whatever  remained  from  the  allowance  after 
their  performance. 

Joke  on  his  Friends 

Mr.  Arbirlot,  a  Scotch  gentleman,  left  extremely  handsome  lega- 
cies to  a  number  of  his  friends.  The  lawyer  who  wrote  down  his 
wishes,  looked  up  from  time  to  time  to  ascertain  whether  his  client 
could  be  in  earnest ;  at  last  he  could  not  refrain  from  asking  him 
whether  he  was  sure  his  assets  would  cover  all  these  bequests.  At 
this  the  humorous  testator  burst  out  laughing,  admitting  that  of 
course  they  wouldn't,  only  he  didn't  like  to  go  out  of  the  world  with- 
out leaving  the  expression  of  his  regard  for  these  legatees,  by  show- 
ing what  he  would  have  done  for  them  if  he  had  had  the  means. 
No  doubt  the  intention  was  a  benevolent  one;  but  we  doubt 
whether  the  joke  was  one  calculated  to  be  received  in  a  spirit  of 
affectionate  gratitude,  especially  by  the  executors,  whose  equanim- 
ity would  have  been  put  to  a  severe  test  had  the  puzzle  not  been 
explained  before  the  testator's  death. 

A  Remarkable  Annuity 

A  county  newspaper  some  years  ago  recorded  the  death  of  a 
Major  Hook,  and  spoke  of  him  as  "a  singular  character."  "He 
died,"  says  the  report,  "on  Monday  sennight,  at  his  house.  Ham 
Street,  Ham  Common.  He  was  an  officer  in  the  East  India  Com- 
pany's service,  and  reached  the  age  of  seventy-five.  His  house 
was  remarkable  for  its  dingy  and  dilapidated  condition." 

His  wife  had  become  entitled  to  a  life  annuity,  bequeathed  to  her 
in  these  ambiguous  terms :  "And  the  same  shall  be  paid  to  her  as 
long  as  she  is  above  ground."  When,  therefore,  the  good  lady  died, 
her  husband  very  naturally  objected  to  forfeit  this  income  by  put- 
ting her  helow  ground ;  and  ingeniously  devised  a  mode  of  keeping 
her  in  a  room  which  he  allotted  "to  her  sole  and  separate  use," 
placing  a  glass-case  over  her  remains.     For  thirty  years  he  thus 


186      ANCIENT,   CURIOUS,  AND  FAMOUS  WILLS 

prolonged  his  enjoyment,  if  not  of  his  wife's  society,  at  least  of  her 
income. 

To  HELP  Young  Newspaper  Men 

William  J.  Haskett,  a  lawyer,  who  died  in  New  York  in 
1890,  left  a  will  containing  this  curiously  worded  clause:  "I 
am  informed  that  there  is  a  society  composed  of  young  men  con- 
nected with  the  public  press ;  and  as  in  early  life  I  was  connected 
with  the  papers,  I  have  a  keen  recollection  of  the  toils  and  troubles 
that  bubbled  then  and  ever  will  bubble  for  the  toilers  of  the  world 
in  their  pottage  caldron ;  and  as  I  desire  to  thicken  with  a  little 
savory  herb  their  thin  broth  in  the  shape  of  a  legacy,  I  do  hereby 
bequeath  to  the  New  York  Press  Club  of  the  City  of  New  York, 
$1000,  payable  on  the  death  of  Mrs.  Haskett." 

Angelic  Virtue  Required 

Not  long  ago,  a  wealthy  gentleman  on  Long  Island  died,  who 
provided  that  none  of  his  heirs  should  inherit,  unless  they  could 
show  that  they  had  led  a  life  of  angelic  virtue.  Among  the  con- 
ditions mentioned,  were  these :  That  they  should  not  smoke  or 
drink;  that  they  should  rise  every  morning  and  breakfast  at  a 
certain  hour ;  that  they  should  be  in  the  house  every  evening  at  a 
certain  hour ;  that  they  should  be  industrious  and  strictly  moral ; 
that  they  should  never  enter  a  barroom,  and  should  not  get  mar- 
ried before  the  age  of  twenty-five.  It  is  stated  that  the  heirs  were 
practically  disinherited,  all  but  one  having  failed  to  live  up  to  the 
conditions. 

Bare  Arms  Immodest 

A  rector  of  a  Yorkshire  parish,  who  died  in  1804,  left  a  consider- 
able property  to  his  only  daughter  under  the  following  conditions : 

1st.  That  she  should  not  marry  unless  with  the  consent  of  his 
two  executors,  and 

2d.  That  she  should  dress  with  greater  propriety  than  there- 
tofore. 

This  clause  was  worded  thus  :  "  Seeing  that  my  daughter  Anna  has 
not  availed  herself  of  my  advice  touching  the  objectionable  practice 
of  going  about  with  her  arms  bare  up  to  the  elbows,  my  will  is  that, 
should  she  continue  after  my  death  in  this  violation  of  the  mod- 
esty of  her  sex,  all  the  goods,  chattels,  moneys,  land,  and  other 
property  that  I  have  devised  to  her  for  the  maintenance  of  her 


ANCIENT,   CURIOUS,  AND  FAMOUS  WILLS      187 

future  life  shall  pass  to  the  oldest  of  the  sons  of  my  sister  Caroline. 
Should  anyone  take  exception  to  this  my  wish  as  being  too  severe, 
I  answer  that  license  in  dress  in  a  woman  is  a  mark  of  a  depraved 
mind." 

A  Fanatical  Baptist  Minister 

The  will  (dated  March  26th,  1874)  of  the  Rev.  William  Hill,  late 
of  Lansdowne  Villas,  Springfield  Road,  Cothara,  Bristol,  Baptist 
minister,  who  died  on  November  11,  1879,  was  proved  at  the 
district  registry,  Bristol,  by  Emerson  Geerish  and  Thomas  Bow- 
beer,  the  executors,  under  three  thousand  pounds.  After  the  death 
of  his  wife  he  gives  to  the  Society  for  the  Relief  of  Aged  and  Infirm 
Baptist  Ministers,  instituted  in  Bath,  1816,  and  to  the  Baptist 
Foreign  Missionary  Society,  each  one  hundred  pounds.  The 
testator  directs  "the  payment  of  all  my  just  debts,  funeral  and 
testamentary  expenses,  as  soon  as  conveniently  may  be  after  my 
departure  to  heaven ;  but,  as  this  is  to  be  my  final  public  document, 
I  shall  here  record  my  detestation  of  all  State  establishments  of 
religion,  believing  them  to  be  anti-scriptural  and  soul-ruining.  I 
have  for  years  prayed  the  King  of  Zion  to  overthrow  the  politico- 
ecclesiastical  establishment  of  the  British  Empire,  and  I  leave  the 
world  with  a  full  conviction  that  such  prayer  must  ere  long  be 
answered.  I  thirst  to  see  the  Church  brought  down,  the  Church  by 
man  set  up,  for  millions  are  by  it  led  on  to  drink  a  bitter  cup.  I 
desire  all  posterity  to  know  that  William  Hill  was  a  conscientious 
Trinitarian  Baptist  Minister,  and  that  he  believed  infant  sprinkling 
to  be  from  his  Satanic  Majesty,  the  keystone  of  Popery,  therefore 
the  parent  of  unnumbered  terrible  evils ;  this  delusion  must  also 
pass  away  at  the  Divinely-appointed  time,  and  the  immersion  of 
believers,  as  plainly  taught  by  the  Great  Teacher,  the  Holy  Ghost, 
and  the  Apostles,  shall  one  day  universally  triumph.  Man  says, 
some  water  in  the  face,  and  that  before  the  child  has  grace,  is  what 
is  meant  in  Jesus'  word,  by  being  buried  in  the  Lord.  The  deadly 
drinking  customs  of  professors  and  non-professors  are  likewise 
doomed.  Heaven  dash  all  error,  sin,  and  the  devil  from  the  earth, 
and  cause  truth,  hoUness,  and  Christ  everywhere  to  prevail. 
Amen." 

Three  Testamentary  Gems 

The  three  testamentary  gems  following  are  to  be  found  in  one 
volume  of  the  Pennsylvania  State  Reports : 


188      ANCIENT,  CURIOUS,  AND  FAMOUS  WILLS 

NUMBER   ONE 

"  February  the  28,  1858. 
"  the  requeste  of  tresse  Carey  i 
want  ransler  Carey  to  hav  my  plase 
as  long  as  he  shall  live  i  want  drusilla  Carey 
to  stay  and  keepe  house  for  hur  father  and 
marten  i  want  mr  carey  to  give  lovica  shoop  wone 
shale  wone  pare  of 

stockings  Rozanner  dark  wone  coveled  i  want 
cathern  stanten 

to  hav  my  cloak  and  to  Dresses 
i  want  (erasure)  mr  carey  to  give 
Won  hundred  Dolars  two  the  methodus 
Church  I  want  drusila  carey  to  hav 
all  my  household  property  as  soon  as  i  am  ded. 

and  after  mr  carey  is  ded  i 
want  drusila  (erasure)  (erasure) 
carey  two  hav  my  farm.  her 

Tereisse  X  carey 
mark 

NUMBER   TWO 

"In  the  Name  of  god  I  Samull  Eddinger 
of  Moore  Township  County  of  North- 
ampton 

State  of  Penn  Do  make  this  my  Last  will 
and  testament  as  follows 
that  is  to  Say  my  Disire 
my  son  John  he  Shall  have  one 
thousand  Dollars  in  Advance  before 
any  of  the  heirs  Shall  hav  any  money 
from  my  Estate  personal  property 
first  my  Son  John  Shall  Settle  up  all 
my  Depts  funeral  Expace  &c. 

till  all  is  paid 
my  Son  John  he  shall  setle 
my  personal  property  as  soon 

it  is  Posible 
he  shall  pay  the  of  the  money  from 
my  personal  goods  the  half  of 
the  money  to  my  Daughter  Margret  and 


ANCIENT,  CURIOUS,  AND  FAMOUS  WILLS      189 

what  is  Left  from  the  Balence  of 
the  Thousand  DoUrs  he  tookt  of  for 

himself 
my  Son  John  Shall  pay  to  my 
Daughter  Margret  an  Annally  one  a 
Hundred  and  twenty  five  Dollars  for  her 
Natural  Life  time  or  as  long  she 
will  Liv  in  this  World 
and  my  Son  John  he  shall  have 
all  my  Real  Estate  for  his  own 
property  as  Soon  my  Daughter  is  Deased 
my  Son  John  Shall  not  pay  any  Longer 
Not  to  her  heirs  and  to  nobody 
it  be  Stopt." 

NUMBER   THREE 

The  third  runs  as  follows:  "it  to  be  understood  that  any  of 
my  grandchildren  who  shall  be  guilty  of  having  an  illegitimate 
child,  or  of  the  sin  of  intemperance,  or  that  do  wickedly  and  illegiti- 
mately profane  God's  holy  name,  he,  she,  or  they,  to  forever  debar 
themselves  from  the  benefit  of  any  bequest,"  and  that  the  shares 
of  offending  ones  should  be  divided  amongst  their  brothers  and 
sisters,  "whose  life  and  conversation  is  free  from  reproach." 

Claiming  to  be  the  Son  of  a  King 

One  of  the  most  singular  cases  that  ever  came  before  a  court  of 
justice  was  the  dispute  as  to  the  validity  of  the  will  of  the  late  Mr. 
W.  R.  Smee,  probated  in  1880  in  England.  That  the  testator  was 
a  man  of  exceptional  ability  is  beyond  doubt.  His  powers  of  or- 
ganization were  so  good  that  he  was  employed  by  the  Post  Office 
authorities  to  readjust  several  departments  which  had  got  into  a 
state  of  disorder.  A  pamphlet  of  his,  on  the  question  of  the  "Re- 
peal of  the  Malt  Duties,"  attracted  the  attention  of  the  acting 
Lord  Chief  Baron  and  Mr.  Bass,  who  sought  an  interview  with  the 
writer;  and  after  1860  he  wrote  many  able  articles  for  various 
newspapers.  At  the  same  time,  there  is  equally  little  doubt  that 
Mr.  Smee  had  insane  delusions  of  the  sort  which  most  commonly 
afflict  lunatics.  He  believed  that  he  was  a  son  of  George  IV,  and 
rightful  heir  to  the  throne,  and  in  1859,  before  the  composition  of 
the  articles  just  mentioned,  he  wrote  a  letter  to  the  Prince  Consort, 
enclosing  a  preposterous  petition  to  the  Queen  on  the  subject  of  his 


190      ANCIENT,   CURIOUS,  AND  FAMOUS  WILLS 

"rights."  This  absurd  document  stated  that  when  out  walking 
with  his  nurse  he  had  been  recognized  by  a  crowd  as  the  Prince  of 
Wales,  and  escorted  home  amid  loud  hurrahs.  The  king  had  taken 
him  on  his  royal  knee,  and  said  to  him,  "Poor  boy,  poor  boy,  get  on 
with  your  learning.  A  great  destiny  is  preparing  for  you,  though 
you  do  not  know  it."  Every  morning,  he  asserted,  drugs  were  ad- 
ministered which  took  away  his  memory.  The  Duke  of  Welling- 
ton, disguised  in  a  mechanic's  dress,  followed  him  round  Finsbury 
Circus ;  and,  during  his  last  illness,  Mr.  William  Smee,  senior,  had 
said:  "Extraordinary  and  unlieard  of  means  have  been  adopted 
to  keep  him  down,  or  he  must  have  come  to  the  throne."  In  his 
will  the  testator  left  his  property  to  the  corporation  of  Brighton, 
wishing  to  be  associated  with  his  supposed  royal  father  as  a  bene- 
factor to  that  town.  As  must  have  been  generally  expected,  the 
Court  pronounced  against  the  will  which  benefited  the  popular  sea- 
side resort.  "  The  fact  that  a  man  was  capable  of  transacting  busi- 
ness, to  whatever  extent  that  might  go,  however  complicated  the 
business  might  be,  and  however  considerable  the  powers  of  intellect 
it  might  require,  did  not  exclude  the  idea  of  his  being  of  unsound 
mind,"  the  president  stated  in  the  course  of  his  interesting  judg- 
ment. "A  man  might  be  a  good  carpenter  and  follow  his  calling, 
and  yet  his  mind  might  be  tainted  with  insanity  to  such  an  extent 
that  he  might  he  held  irresponsible  for  a  crime  on  the  ground  that 
he  did  not  know  the  nature  of  the  act  he  committed.  Therefore,  all 
the  arguments  addressed  to  the  jury  on  the  subject  of  the  testator's 
capacity  to  deal  with  complex  subjects,  to  write  pamphlets,  and  to 
make  calculations,  had  nothing  to  do  with  the  question  whether 
he  was  of  unsound  mind  or  not.  He  was  admittedly  of  unsound 
mind,  because  shown  by  that  which  was  the  most  conclusive  symp- 
tom and  evidence  of  unsoundness  —  namely,  the  presence  of  delu- 
sions —  that  was  to  say,  ideas  which  they  could  not  conceive  any 
rational  man  entertaining."  These  arguments  do  not  tend  to  sim- 
plify the  difficult  duties  of  those  who  have  the  misfortune  to  be 
called  upon  to  give  advice  in  cases  of  mental  disease. 

A  Word  Left  Out 

Mary  Richardson,  who  died  on  the  28th  of  May,  1874,  made,  by 
her  will,  numerous  charitable  bequests,  amongst  which  was  £500  to 
the  "London  Church  Building  Society."  There  being  no  society 
in  London  bearing  that  title  exactly,  a  petition  was  presented  by 


ANCIENT,   CURIOUS,  AND  FAMOUS  WILLS      191 

I 

the  treasurers  of  the  London  Diocesan  Church  Building  Society 
for  the  payment  out  of  court  of  the  bequest  named.  The  Bishop 
of  London's  fund  Hkewise  presented  its  claim ;  as  also  did  the  In- 
corporated Society  for  Promoting  the  Enlargement  Building,  and 
Repairing  of  Churches  in  England  and  Wales,  the  latter  supposing 
that  it  most  exactly  answered  the  description  of  a  London  church 
building  society.  The  Vice-Chancellor,  however.  Sir  C.  Hall, 
decided  in  favor  of  the  London  Diocesan  Church  Building  Society, 
because  the  words  used  most  nearly  approached  those  of  the  title 
given  by  the  testatrix. 

An  Enigma 

will  of  rosine  barrot 


I  give  to  my  sister 20 

"         Jeanne 10 

"         Pauline 6 

Marie 6 

Julie 6 


I  give  to  Gustave 6 

"         Eugenie 7 

"         Annie 14 


75 


This  is  my  last  will  and  testament,  made  at  Meude,  20th  October, 
1767.  RosiNE  Barrot. 

As  this  was  the  entire  will,  without  any  clue  whatever  to  its  sig- 
nification, the  surviving  relatives,  for  there  were  no  executors  ap- 
pointed, set  their  wits  to  work  to  discover  its  enigmatic  signification. 
At  last  they  found  that  the  testatrix's  property  amounted  to 
75,000  francs,  and  they  therefore  concluded  that  each  unit  rep- 
resented 1000.  Another  difficulty  arose  from  the  fact  that  there 
were  in  the  family  several  repetitions  of  some  of  the  names  men- 
tioned in  the  will.  The  decision,  however,  was  worked  out  by 
common  sense,  and,  strange  to  say,  two  trials  at  law  that  followed, 
failed  to  overthrow  it. 

Body  bequeathed  for  Useful  Purposes 

A  certain  testator  devised  his  property  to  a  stranger,  wholly  dis- 
inheriting the  heir  or  next  of  kin,  and  directed  that  his  executors 
should  "cause  some  part  of  his  bowels  to  be  converted  into  fiddle 
strings,  and  that  others  should  be  sublimed  into  smelling  salts,  and 
that  the  remainder  of  his  body  should  be  vitrified  into  lenses,  for 
optical  purposes."  In  a  letter  attached  to  this  will  the  testator 
said,  "The  world  may  think  this  to  be  done  in  a  spirit  of  singularity 


192      ANCIENT,   CURIOUS,  AND  FAMOUS  WILLS 

or  whim,  but  I  have  a  mortal  aversion  to  funeral  pomp,  and  I  wish 
my  body  to  be  converted  into  purposes  useful  to  mankind."  The 
testator  was  shown  to  have  conducted  his  affairs  with  great  shrewd- 
ness and  ability,  and  had  been  regarded  by  his  associates  through 
life  as  a  person  possessing  high  business  quahfications,  and  the  will 
was  upheld. 

Will  contained  a  Sermon 

Another  unusual  will  showing  a  strong  religious  belief  and  which 
incorporates  a  sermon  to  his  heirs,  is  that  of  Elias  Boudinot  which 
was  probated  in  Luzerne  County,  Pennsylvania,  in  182L  The 
will  contained  twenty-six  closely  written  pages  of  manuscript. 
The  beginning  of  the  will  which  contains  the  sermon  is  as  follows  : 

"Know  all  men  by  these  presents  that  I,  Ehas  Boudinot,  late  of 
the  city  of  Philadelphia,  and  director  of  the  mint  of  the  United 
States,  but  now  of  the  city  of  Burlington,  N.J.,  Doctor  of  Laws, 
being  by  the  unmerited  goodness  of  Almighty  God,  after  great  afflic- 
tion, by  a  long  series  of  bad  health,  and  having  passed  my  eighty- 
first  year  and  returned  to  a  tolerable  state  of  bodily  health,  so  as  to 
possess  a  sound  and  disposing  mind  and  memory ;  but  being  often 
reminded  of  the  uncertainty  of  life  and  the  propriety  of  settling  the 
intended  disposition  of  my  property  while  free  from  the  distresses 
of  a  sick  bed,  do  make  and  publish  this  my  last  will  and  testament. 

"And  as  this  instrument  cannot  take  effect  till  after  my  death, 
but  must  then  be  frequently  resorted  to  by  my  representatives, 
I  do  therefore  improve  so  good  an  opportunity  of  repeating  the 
profession  I  have  made  for  more  than  sixty  years,  and  which  by  the 
free  grace  of  God,  through  Jesus  Christ,  and  by  the  continued  in- 
fluences of  his  Holy  Spirit,  has  been  strengthened  and  confirmed 
by  the  most  happy  experience,  founded  on  solid  ground  and  by 
a  thorough  examination  and  inquiry  into  the  divine  scriptures 
through  that  long  period,  and  in  which  I  hope  under  the  same 
blessed  influences  to  finish  my  mortal  race,  I  mean  that  of  a  firm, 
unfeigned  and  prevailing  belief  in  one  sovereign,  omnipotent  and 
eternal  Jehovah,  a  God  of  infinite  love  and  mercy  who  hath  de- 
livered us  from  the  powers  of  darkness  and  hath  translated  us  into 
the  kingdom  of  his  dear  Son,  in  whom  we  have  redemption  through 
his  blood,  even  the  forgiveness  of  sins,  who  is  the  image  of  the  invin- 
cible God,  the  first  born  of  every  creature,  and  he  is  before  all  things 
and  by  him  all  things  consist,  and  whoever  has  been  and  still  is  rec- 
onciled a  guilty  world  unto  himself  by  his  righteousness  and  atone- 


ANCIENT,   CURIOUS,  AND  FAMOUS  WILLS      193 

ment,  his  death  and  his  resurrection,  through  whom  alone  life 
and  immortality  have  been  brought  to  light  in  his  gospel,  and  by 
the  all-powerful  influence  of  his  daily  si)irit,  is  daily  sanctifying, 
enlightening  and  leading  his  faithful  people  into  all  necessary  truth. 

"And  as  it  has  pleased  a  holy  and  sovereign  God  to  favor  me 
with  the  continuance  of  one  only  child,  to  whom  I  most  cordially 
wish  and  pray  for  the  best  and  greatest  possible  good  in  time  and 
eternity,  I  do  in  the  most  solemn  manner,  as  in  the  presence  of  the 
one  only  great  and  glorious  God,  the  Father,  the  Son  and  the  Holy 
Spirit,  and  in  view  of  an  approaching  eternity,  beseech  and  en- 
treat her  to  make  the  fear  and  love  of  God  the  great  objects  of  her 
constant  attention  and  pursuit,  and  in  a  particular  manner  that  she 
will  by  a  persevering  inquiry  into,  and  a  thorough  knowledge  of  the 
spirit  and  power  of  the  gospel  of  Jesus  Christ,  which  she  has  been 
so  long,  and  I  trust  through  divine  mercy  savingly  acquainted 
with,  endeavor  to  cherish  and  increase  the  like  temper,  disposition 
and  usefulness  in  hfe  as  are  therein  so  clearly  and  plainly  taught 
and  enforced,  and  which,  generally  speaking,  consist  in  an  univer- 
sal benevolence,  meekness,  self-denial,  deep  contrition  for  sin  and 
unfeigned  love  to  our  brethren,  with  an  habitual  lively  faith  in 
and  dependence  upon  our  Lord  Jesus  Christ,  as  the  only  atone- 
ment for  our  sins,  the  source  of  every  blessing,  and  when  the 
gift  of  God  will  inevitably  work  by  love,  purify  the  heart  and  be 
productive  of  good  works,  aways  remembering  that  however  the 
profession  of  a  particular  denomination  of  our  holy  religion  among 
men  may  be  beneficial  to  herself  and  others  in  their  state  of 
imperfection  in  which  every  aid  should  be  sought  to  support 
and  manifest  the  Christian  character,  yet  that  the  Church  of 
Christ  is  one  universal  and  Catholic  Church,  a  communion  of 
saints  not  confined  to  time  or  place,  name  or  party  of  Christians, 
but  that  every  one  who  exercises  deep  and  sincere  repentance 
towards  God,  unfeigned  faith  in  his  beloved  Son  and  worketh 
righteousness,  is  born  of  God. 

"And  I  do  more  expressly  press  it  upon  her  under  every  circum- 
stance of  life,  to  consider  that  day  as  worse  than  lost,  in  which  she 
does  not  seek  earnestly  communion  with  her  Heavenly  Father 
under  the  special  influence  of  His  Holy  Spirit,  and  she  may  be  posi- 
tively assured  that  this  may  be  done  even  amidst  the  common  and 
ordinary  business  of  life  as  in  the  most  profound  and  secret  retire- 
ments, assisted  by  the  ordinances  of  his  gospel ;  would  also  earnestly 
recommend  her  habitually  living  under  prevailing  sense  of  God's 


194      ANCIENT,   CURIOUS,  AND  FAMOUS  WILLS 

overruling  providence,  which,  however  wonderful,  regards  the 
smallest  things  of  those  who  love  and  fear  him,  even  to  the  number- 
ing of  the  hairs  of  the  heads. 

"As  to  all  and  singular,  the  temporal  estate  wherewith  it  has 
pleased  God  in  his  undeserved  mercy  to  amply  reward  my  industry 
and  application  to  business,  for  the  use  and  enjoyment  of  which  I 
do  him  my  most  grateful  thanks,  acknowledging  his  great  goodness 
and  beneficence  to  me  therein,  I  do  dispose  of  the  same  and  all  my 
estate  therein  in  the  following  manner,  wishing  to  do  what  I  think 
by  solemn  and  serious  consideration,  will  not  be  contrary  to  his 
divine  will,  but  in  the  end  may  advance  the  honor  of  his  great 
name." 

Thereafter  follow  the  bequests. 

A  Partnership  with  God 

We  might  head  this  paper  "Why  Paul  Duhalde  made  his  Will," 
for  certainly  no  idea  could  be  much  more  original  than  that  on 
which  its  principal,  and  disputed,  clause  was  founded. 

A  brief  sketch  of  the  history  of  Paul  Duhalde  cannot  fail  to 
interest  our  readers,  and  will  best  explain  the  peculiarity  of  this 
testamentary  document. 

This  individual  was  born  at  Paris  in  1691 ;  he  died  in  1725  ;  he 
was  the  son  of  a  dealer  in  diamonds,  and  lost  his  father  at  the  age  of 
sixteen  years,  when  he  was  sent  to  Spain  by  his  mother  to  learn  the 
arcana  of  the  business.  The  lad  had  no  success,  and  returned. 
He  was  then  placed  with  a  merchant  at  Rouen,  but  did  not  get  on, 
and  subsequently  passed  to  America,  but  his  restless  disposition 
soon  sent  him  back  to  France.  This  brought  him  to  the  year  1717, 
and  he  was  now  twenty-six  years  of  age.  He  remained  some 
months  with  his  mother,  and  then,  having  contracted  a  partnership 
with  two  jewel  merchants,  set  off  a  second  time  to  Madrid ;  this 
enterprise  was,  however,  not  more  successful  than  those  preceding 
it,  and  he  came  back  to  Paris,  in  the  month  of  February,  1719, 
profoundly  discouraged,  and  not  without  reason. 

Here  the  melancholy  reflections  consequent  on  his  repeated  and 
persistent  failures  suggested  to  him  a  very  singular  notion,  that 
of  contracting  a  partnership  with  God.  He  proceeded  to  enter 
seriously  into  this  abnormal  contract,  and  drew  up  an  act  in  regular 
and  technical  form,  which  he  transcribed  into  his  day-book  on  Sep- 
tember 24,  1719,  in  the  following  terms:  "I  have  resolved  to  enter 


ANCIENT,   CURIOUS,  AND  FAMOUS  WILLS      195 

into  a  partnership  with  God,  promising  and  undertaking  to  fulfil 
all  the  within-mentioned  articles ;  and  I  enjoin  my  heirs,  whoever 
they  may  be,  to  carry  out  these  my  intentions  in  case  I  should  die 
before  accomplishing  them  myself." 

He  then  proceeds  to  declare  that  this  association,  the  object  of 
which  is  to  deal  in  precious  stones,  shall  hold  good  for  five  years, 
reckoning  from  October  2,  1719.  He  fixes  his  capital  at  3000 
Spanish  piastres,  about  $3000,  being  all  that  remained  to  him  of  his 
patrimony.  He  binds  himself  not  to  enter  into  any  other  partner- 
ship during  the  five  years,  unless  with  a  woman,  by  marriage.  As 
soon  as  the  five  years  shall  have  elapsed,  he  proposes  to  balance  his 
accounts,  to  begin  by  withdrawing  from  the  partnership  the  3000 
piastres  with  which  he  started ;  secondly,  to  take  from  it  the  dowry 
that  his  wife  may  have  brought  him ;  thirdly,  any  sum  or  sums  that 
may  have  fallen  in  to  him  by  succession  or  otherwise  during  the 
time;  after  which  he  adds,  "And  the  surplus  shall  be  equally 
divided  between  God  and  myself." 

This  unique  partnership  having  been  thus  determined,  Duhalde 
starts  a  third  time  for  Spain,  but  the  outset  of  this  new  attempt  does 
not  augur  well  for  the  partners.  Two  years  after,  however  (1721), 
the  project  of  a  double  marriage  between  the  Courts  of  France  and 
Spain  gives  a  new  impetus  to  the  branch  of  commerce  in  which  he  is 
engaged,  and  he  resolves  to  improve  the  opportunity.  At  last 
Fortune  seems  to  smile  upon  his  endeavors,  and  the  ultimate  re- 
sults exceed  his  fondest  hopes.  He  now  returns  to  Paris,  resolving 
to  settle  himself  finally  there. 

In  1722  he  married  the  daughter  of  De  Hansy,  a  well-known 
bookseller,  who  brought  him  30,000  hvres,  and  from  his  mother, 
who  died  in  September  of  the  same  year,  he  inherited  70,226 
livres.     On  May  20,  1723,  a  son  was  born  to  him. 

Meantime  Dulhalde  never  loses  sight  of  the  obhgations  he  has 
taken  upon  himself  toward  his  partner.  He  draws,  from  time  to 
time,  from  the  common  fund,  sums  which  he  distributes  in  the  name 
of  God,  to  the  poor,  and  inscribes  these  with  regularity  and  preci- 
sion in  his  registers. 

On  October  1,  1724,  the  partnership  expires.  Duhalde  strikes 
a  balance  of  his  accounts,  and  finds  from  the  aggregate  of  the 
entries  that  he  has  already  paid  to  the  poor  13,684  livres ;  but  this 
is  not  all.  In  the  statement  of  account  drawn  up  he  has  considered 
three  classes  of  stones  as  constituting  a  portion  of  the  profits  :  one 
of  these  lots  is  at  Amsterdam,  one  at  Madrid,  and  one  at  Paris ; 


196      ANCIENT,   CURIOUS,  AND  FAMOUS  WILLS 

these  he  shares  equally,  inscribing  on  the  packets  which  contain 
them :  "Half  for  the  poor" ;  and  at  the  foot  of  the  statement  of 
account  he  writes:  "Misfortune  and  malediction  upon  my  heirs, 
whoever  they  may  be,  if,  under  any  pretext  whatever,  they  should 
fail  to  distribute  to  the  poor  the  half  of  whatever  proceeds  may 
come  from  the  jewels  now  in  my  possession,  if  so  be  God  should  call 
me  away  before  I  shall  have  been  able  to  satisfy  their  claims  myself. 
Further,  if  by  any  extraordinary  event  it  should  appear  at  my  death 
that  no  other  amounts  are  forthcoming  but  those  goods  or  sums 
which  are  virtually  the  property  of  the  poor,  let  not  a  sacrilegious 
hand  be  laid  upon  them ;  they  constitute  a  deposit  which  can  under 
no  circumstances  be  diverted  from  its  just  cause." 

In  addition  to  this  precaution,  and  in  order  to  secure  to  the  poor 
the  amounts  he  regarded  as  strictly  their  due,  Duhalde  drew  up  in 
the  month  of  January,  1725,  eight  bills  of  1000  livres  each,  payable 
to  order  from  year  to  year,  comprising  the  years  1725  to  1732, 
and  placed  these  bills  in  the  hands  of  the  Vicar  of  St.  Germain 
I'Auxerrois. 

On  January  14,  1725,  he  fell  ill  and  made  his  will,  by  which 
he  declares  that :  "In  the  books  which  contain  the  minutes  of  my 
affairs  there  are  several  articles  touching  matters  that  concern  the 
poor ;  I  beg  my  executor  to  examine  these  articles  with  the  great- 
est accuracy,  and  to  see  they  are  carried  out  with  the  strictest 
attention." 

Two  months  after,  Duhalde  dies,  leaving  a  young  widow,  a 
minor,  and  an  infant  two  years  old.  The  schedule  of  property  is 
called  over,  the  administrators  of  the  Hopital  General  are  invited 
to  attend.  Among  the  effects  of  the  deceased  are  found  packets 
of  precious  stones,  labelled  "Half  for  the  poor";  their  portion  is 
estimated  at  18,188  livres.  The  administrators  claim  it,  but  offer 
to  compromise  for  the  sum  of  15,900 ff.  The  young  widow  pro- 
tests ;  the  guardian  contends  that  the  will  should  be  set  aside  on 
the  ground  that  no  sane  men  ever  enter  into  partnership  with  God. 
The  parties  appeal  to  law,  and,  after  a  spirited  altercation,  a 
judgment  is  obtained,  April  3,  1726,  on  the  decision  of  D'Agues- 
seau  (Avocat-General),  ordering  that  "The  will  of  Duhalde  and  the 
acts  and  codicils  dependent  thereon  shall  be  fulfilled  according  to 
the  desire  of  the  testator ;  he  consequently  condemns  the  guardian 
of  the  widow  and  her  son  to  hand  over  to  the  administrators  of  the 
hospital  funds  the  jewels  constituting  the  legacy  made  by  the  testa- 
tor to  the  poor,  but  leaving  him  the  choice  of  paying  the  sum  in 


ANCIENT,   CURIOUS,   AND  FAMOUS  WILLS      197 

money  value,  as  estimated  by  experts  to  be  provided  by  the  Court ; 
the  course  adopted  by  the  said  guardian  to  be  decided  on  within  a 
fortnight." 

Eccentric  but  Charitable  Frenchman 

A  gentleman  of  French  birth,  named  Pierre  Henri  Baume,  died 
some  years  ago  at  Douglas,  Isle  of  Man,  leaving  a  large  sum  for 
charitable  purposes.  He  was  born  at  Marseilles  in  1797,  and  at  an 
early  age  was  sent  to  a  military  college  at  Naples,  where  he  became 
private  secretary  to  King  Ferdinand.  About  the  year  1825  he 
came  to  London.  At  one  time  he  was  a  preacher  holding  peculiar 
views  on  theology,  then  became  manager  of  a  theatrical  company, 
and  subsequently  got  up  a  scheme  for  the  establishment  of  model 
gardens.  He  took  a  lively  interest  in  various  charitable  institu- 
tions, and  expressed  a  strong  desire  to  accumulate  a  great  fortune, 
with  the  object  of  eventually  endowing  or  establishing  an  institu- 
tion, on  principles  which  he  had  himself  drawn  up,  for  the  education 
and  benefit  of  youth  of  the  poorer  classes.  By  great  perseverance 
and  industry,  and  by  subjecting  himself  almost  to  privation,  he  at 
last  succeeded  in  amassing  a  considerable  fortune,  and  bought  land 
at  Colney-hatch,  together  with  a  small  estate  called  Chifont,  on 
Dibdin-hill,  in  Buckinghamshire.  Several  obstacles  arose  as  to  the 
fulfilment  of  his  educational  project,  and  he  was  ultimately  induced 
to  abandon  this  idea.  After  living  about  a  quarter  of  a  century  in 
London,  he  went  to  Manchester  and  engaged  vigorously  in  a  move- 
ment "public-houses  without  drink."  He  also  instituted  Sunday 
afternoon  lectures  to  working-men,  which  were  carried  on  with  vary- 
ing success  for  several  years.  In  1857  he  settled  in  the  Isle  of  Man, 
purchased  an  estate  there,  and  afterwards  resided  on  the  island. 
At  Douglas  he  fitted  up  an  odd  kind  of  residence,  the  entrance  to 
which  he  made  almost  inaccessible,  and  admission  to  which 
could  only  be  obtained  by  those  whom  he  had  initiated  into  a 
peculiar  knock.  In  this  little  den  he  lived  like  a  hermit,  sleeping 
in  a  hammock  slung  from  the  roof,  for  the  room  was  so  crowded 
with  dusty  books  that  there  was  no  space  for  a  bedstead  or  even  for 
a  table  on  which  to  take  his  food.  He  stated  that  his  object  in  liv- 
ing in  this  condition  and  depriving  himself  of  all  comforts  was  to 
enable  him  to  leave  as  much  money  as  possible  for  charitable 
and  educational  purposes.  He  resided  in  this  miserable  place 
for  several  years ;  but  his  health  failing  him,  he  was  induced,  later, 
to  remove,  and  died   at    a   tradesman's    house  in   Duke   street, 


198      ANCIENT,   CURIOUS,  AND   FAMOUS  WILLS 

Douglas.  Public  attention  was  directed  to  M.  Baume's  aflFairs  in 
London,  in  consequence  of  proceedings  taken  by  him  to  evict  a 
number  of  squatters  who  had  located  themselves  on  his  Colney- 
hatch  property,  which  was  popularly  known  as  "The  Frenchman's 
Farm."  M.  Baume  took  out  letters  of  naturalization,  which  en- 
abled him  to  enjoy  the  rights  and  privileges  of  an  Englishman, 
and  to  dispose  of  his  property  as  he  thought  best.  He  left  the 
whole  of  his  real  and  personal  property,  valued  at  £54,000,  in  trust 
for  charitable  purposes  in  the  Isle  of  Man,  on  his  death. 

"Louis  Agassiz,  Teacher  " 

The  will  of  Agassiz,  probated  in  June,  1874,  begins  thus :  "The 
last  will  and  testament  of  Louis  Agassiz,  of  Cambridge,  in  the 
County  of  Middlesex  and  Commonwealth  of  Massachusetts, 
teacher." 

Of  him  the  Boston  Globe  said :  "  We  should  think  the  heart  of 
every  schoolmaster  and  schoolmistress  in  the  land  should  bound 
at  reading  this  simple  announcement.  The  great  naturalist,  the 
peer  of  Aristotle,  Linnaeus,  Cuvier,  and  Von  Baer,  calls  himself, 
in  the  most  solemn  of  all  documents,  'a  teacher.'  There  is,  to 
us,  something  inspiring  in  this  designation.  All  teachers,  whether 
they  are  professors  in  colleges  or  directors  in  the  commonest  vil- 
lage schools,  must  be  thrilled  and  invigorated  by  the  statement 
that  Agassiz  is  proud  to  enroll  himself  in  their  ranks.  The  good, 
grand,  noble  man,  the  apostle  of  pure  science,  the  investigator 
and  discoverer,  the  person  who  was  preeminently  a  scientific 
force  as  well  as  a  scientific  intelligence  dies  with  the  feeling  that  his 
occupation  was  that  of  a  'teacher.'  He,  of  course,  leaves  little 
or  no  property  to  his  family ;  the  noble  woman,  the  bereaved  wife, 
the  constant  companion  of  his  intellect  as  well  as  of  his  heart,  she 
who  followed  him  whithersoever  he  was  led  by  the  spirit  of  scien- 
tific research,  is,  we  suppose,  the  executrix  of  little  but  his  glory ; 
but  the  will  is  sublime,  because  it  records  the  fact  that  Louis 
Agassiz  was  'a  teacher.'  That  was  his  occupation  on  earth. 
What  it  may  be  above,  we  do  not  pretend  to  know.  One  thing  we 
know  is  this,  that  the  simple  preamble  to  his  will  must  kindle  into 
a  generous  flame  every  soul  engaged  in  the  great  cause  of  educa- 
tion. *  Louis  Agassiz,  teacher  ! '  but  what  a  teacher !  We  pre- 
serve many  memories  of  precious  conversations  with  him  on  this 
question  of  teaching.  He  considered  that  teaching  was  a  com- 
munication of  life  as  well  as  of  knowledge.     A  lad  of  ten  years  once 


ANCIENT,  CURIOUS,  AND  FAMOUS  WILLS      199 

contrived  to  get  into  the  State  House  when  Agassiz  was  urging  the 
incontrovertible  arguments  for  his  'museum.'  We  happened  to 
jostle  against  the  lad  as  he  was  leaving  the  hall,  and  asked  him, 
laughingly,  his  opinion  of  the  performance.  *Well,'  he  said,  'I've 
been  to  many  lectures,  and  have  been  tired  to  death,  but  Agassiz 
comes  right  up  to  my  notion  of  the  circus  ! '  When  we  told  Agassiz 
of  this  queer  compliment,  he  was  much  pleased.  He  wanted  to 
see  the  boy  who  had  been  so  unconsciously  appreciative  of  the 
spirit  of  his  speech.  He  knew  that  he  had  magnetized  grave  and 
elderly  men,  and  that  what  he  asked  for  would  be  cheerfully 
granted ;  but  he  desired  to  shake  hands  with  the  lad  who  thought 
he  was  as  good  as  'a  circus,'  and  sent  out  from  his  deep  lungs 
great  roars  of  laughter  in  welcoming  the  testimony  of  his  juvenile 
admirer. 

"  It  would  be  idle  to  multiply  instances  of  the  thorough  human- 
ity and  geniality  of  Agassiz.  Everybody  who  knew  him  can  tell 
hundreds  of  anecdotes  illustrative  of  his  sympathy  with  all  forms 
of  life,  whether  in  the  jelly-fish,  the  human  infant,  the  developing 
boy  or  girl,  the  mature  man  or  woman.  Still  his  conviction  of 
the  immateriality  and  personality  of  mind  was  something  wonder- 
ful in  so  austere  a  naturalist.  We  happened  once  to  please  him  by 
defining  a  jelly-fish  as  organized  water.  'Now  look  at  it  through 
the  microscope,'  he  said.  'But,  Agassiz,  the  play  of  the  organiza- 
tion is  so  wonderful  that  it  seems  to  me  that  nothing  but  mind 
can  account  for  it.'  'You  are  right,'  was  his  answer;  'in  some 
incomprehensible  way,  God  Almighty  has  created  these  beings, 
and  I  cannot  doubt  of  their  immortality  any  more  than  I  doubt 
of  my  own.'  His  fealty  to  the  rights  of  animals  exceeded  that  of 
any  great  naturalist  who  ever  preceded  him.  Incompetent  as 
we  are  to  give  him  his  due  rank  among  the  great  naturahsts  of 
the  world,  we  think  he  excelled  every  naturalist  who  has  gone 
before  him  in  striking  at  the  soul  and  individuality  of  all  animals 
below  man.  It  is  impossible  to  convey  in  words  the  peculiar 
feeling  which  Agassiz  had  on  this  matter.  Doubtless  this  large 
and  genial  genius  is  now  satisfied.  We  cannot  penetrate  beyond 
the  veil. 

"What  we  can  do,  however,  is  to  celebrate  Agassiz  as  a  teacher, 
and  try  to  send  a  new  glow  into  the  heart  of  every  person  engaged 
in  the  difficult  art  of  teaching.  How  hard  is  their  work  !  The 
present  generation  is  brought  up,  as  far  as  education  is  concerned, 
on  the  most  economical  principles.     No  consideration  whatever 


200      ANCIENT,   CURIOUS,  AND  FAMOUS  WILLS 

is  given  to  the  point  of  the  will  of  Agassiz.  When  he  proudly  calls 
himself  '  a  teacher, '  he  means  that  he  is  a  radiator  of  heat  as  well 
as  of  light.  A  poet  has  well  described  the  method  of  instruction 
adopted  by  Agassiz : 

"  *  He  was  like  the  sun  giving  me  life ; 

Pouring  into  the  caves  of  my  young  brain 
Knowledge  from  his  bright  fountains.'  " 

Pipe,  Tobacco  and  Matches  in  his  Coffin 

Mr.  Klaes,  who  was  known  among  his  acquaintances  by  the 
name  of  the  "  King  of  Smokers,"  died  some  years  ago  near  Rotter- 
dam. According  to  the  Belgian  papers  he  had  amassed  a  large 
fortune  in  the  linen  trade,  and  had  erected  near  Rotterdam  a 
mansion,  one  portion  of  which  was  devoted  to  the  arrangement  of 
a  collection  of  pipes  according  to  their  nationality  and  chronologi- 
cal order.  A  few  days  before  his  death  he  summoned  his  lawyer, 
and  made  his  will,  in  which  he  directed  that  all  the  smokers  of  the 
country  should  be  invited  to  his  funeral,  that  each  should  be  pre- 
sented with  10  lb.  of  tobacco  and  two  Dutch  pipes  of  the  newest 
fashion,  on  which  should  be  engraved  the  name,  arms  and  date  of 
the  decease  of  the  testator.  He  requested  all  his  relatives,  friends 
and  funeral  guests  to  be  careful  to  keep  their  pipes  alight  during 
the  funeral  ceremonies,  after  which  they  should  empty  the  ashes 
from  their  pipes  on  the  coffin.  The  poor  of  the  neighborhood  who 
attended  to  his  last  wishes  were  to  receive  annually,  on  the  anni- 
versary of  his  death,  10  lb.  of  tobacco  and  a  small  cask  of  good  beer. 
He  desired  that  his  oak  coffin  should  be  lined  with  the  cedar  of  his 
old  Havana  cigar  boxes,  and  that  a  box  of  French  caporal  and 
a  packet  of  old  Dutch  tobacco  should  be  placed  at  the  foot  of  his 
coffin.  His  favorite  pipe  was  to  be  placed  by  his  side,  along  with 
a  box  of  matches,  a  flint  and  steel,  and  some  tinder,  as  he  said  there 
was  no  knowing  what  might  happen.  A  clever  calculator  has 
made  out  that  Mr.  Klaes  had,  during  his  eighty  years  of  life, 
smoked  more  than  four  tons  of  tobacco,  and  had  drunk  about 
500,000  quarts  of  beer. 

Thankfulness  to  God 

In  the  codicil  annexed  to  the  last  will  of  Robert  North,  Esq., 
of  Scarborough,  England,  proved  in  October,  1765,  the  following 


ANCIENT,   CURIOUS,  AND  FAMOUS  WILLS      201 

"  I  give  to  Mrs.  R.  G.  my  English  walnut  bureau,  made  large  to 
contain  clothes,  but  hope  she  will  not  forget  when  she  makes  use 
of  it  that  graces  and  virtues  are  a  lady's  most  ornamental  dress; 
and  that  that  dress  has  this  peculiar  excellence,  that  it  will  last  for 
ever  and  improve  by  wearing. 

"  I  give  to  Lieutenant  W.  M.,  my  godson,  my  sword,  and  hope  he 
will  (if  ever  occasion  should  require  it)  convince  a  rash  world  he 
has  learnt  to  obey  his  God  as  well  as  his  general,  and  that  he  enter- 
tains too  true  a  sense  of  honour  to  admit  anything  into  the  char- 
acter of  a  good  soldier  which  is  inconsistent  with  the  duty  of  a  good 
Christian. 

"  And  now  having,  I  hope,  made  a  proper  disposition  of  my  lands 
and  money,  those  pearls  of  great  price  in  the  present  esteem  of 
men,  let  me  take  this  opportunity  of  expressing  my  gratitude  to 
the  grand  original  proprietor ;  and  here  I  must  direct  my  praises 
to  that  benign  Being  who  through  all  the  stages  of  my  life  hath  en- 
compassed me  with  a  profusion  of  favours,  and  who  by  a  wonderful 
and  gracious  Providence  hath  converted  my  very  misfortunes  and 
disappointments  into  blessings ;  nor  let  me  omit,  what  the  business 
just  finished  seems  more  particularly  to  require  of  me,  to  return 
Him  my  unfeigned  thanks,  who,  to  all  the  comforts  and  con- 
veniences of  life,  hath  superadded  this  also  of  being  useful  even  in 
death,  by  thus  enabling  me  to  dispose  of  a  double  portion,  namely, 
out  of  love  to  the  poor,  and  another  of  gratitude  to  my  friends. 

"All  my  faults  and  follies,  almost  infinite  as  they  have  been,  I 
leave  behind  me  with  wishes,  that  as  here  they  had  their  birth 
and  origin,  they  may  here  be  buried  in  everlasting  oblivion.  My 
infant  graces  and  little  embryo  virtues  are,  I  trust,  gone  before 
me  into  heaven,  and  will,  I  hope,  prove  successful  messengers  to 
prepare  my  way.  Thither,  O  Lord,  let  them  mount  up  with  un- 
remitting constancy,  while  my  soul  in  the  meantime  feasts  itself 
with  ecstatic  reflections  on  that  ravishing  change  when,  from  the 
nonsense  and  folly  of  an  impertinent,  vain,  and  wicked  world, 
it  shall  be  summoned  to  meet  its  kindred  spirits,  and  admitted 
into  the  blissful  society  of  angels  and  men  made  perfect ;  when, 
instead  of  sickness,  gloominess,  and  sorrow  (the  melancholj'^  retinue 
of  sin  and  house  of  clay),  glory  and  immortal  youth  shall  be  its 
attendants,  and  its  habitation  the  palace  of  the  King  of  Kings : 
this  will  be  a  life  worth  dying  for  indeed  !  thus  to  exist,  tho'  but  in 
prospect,  is  at  present  joy,  gladness,  transport,  ecstacy  !  Fired  with 
the  view  of  this  transcendent  happiness  and  triumphant  in  hope. 


202      ANCIENT,  CURIOUS,  AND  FAMOUS  WILLS 

these  noble  privileges  of  a  Christian,  how  is  it  possible  to  forbear 
crying  out  O  Death,  why  art  thou  so  long  in  coming  ?  why  tarry 
the  wheels  of  thy  chariot  ? 

"To  that  Supreme  Being,  whose  treasures  and  goodness  are 
thus  infinite  and  inexhaustible,  be  all  honour  and  glory  for  ever. 
Amen." 


CHAPTER  V 

TESTAMENTARY   AND   KINDRED    MISCELLANY 

"Let  the  world  slide,  let  the  world  go, 
A  fig  for  care,  and  a  fig  for  woe  ! 
If  I  can't  pay,  why  I  can  owe. 
And  death  makes  equal  the  high  and  low." 

Testamentary  Capacity 

The  following  was  copied  a  short  time  ago  from  a  legal  journal : 
a  stranger  on  horseback  was  passing  through  a  country  village; 
a  church  was  being  moved,  and  he  asked  a  resident  the  reason; 
the  latter  answered : 

"Well,  stranger,  I'm  mayor  of  these  here  diggin's,  an'  I'm  fer 
law  enforcement.  We've  got  an  ordenance  what  says  no  saloon 
shall  be  nearer  than  three  hundred  feet  to  a  church.  I  give 'em 
jest  three  days  to  move  the  church." 

I  mean  no  disrespect  in  linking  this  decision  of  the  Mayor  with 
that  of  the  Supreme  Court  of  one  of  our  great  Western  States. 

That  Supreme  Court  recently  handed  down  a  decision  on  testa- 
mentary capacity.  It  would  seem  that  extreme  mental  obliquity 
is  not  a  bar  to  will-making :  here  is  the  syllabus  in  the  case  : 

"That  where  the  testator  used  excessive  amounts  of  a  patent 
kidney  medicine  and  recommended  it  to  his  friends  for  all  kinds  of 
diseases ;  manifested  a  hitherto  unknown  desire  to  make  political 
speeches,  and  was  positive  in  his  utterances  that  certain  candidates 
should  not  be  permitted  to  run  for  office,  and  that  Bryan  was  not 
honest  and  McKinley  was  not  fit  to  be  President,  and  that  he  could 
make  a  better  President  than  McKinley ;  got  up  at  night  and  sang 
Psalms ;  took  his  dogs  and  went  hunting  at  night,  though  he  got 
no  game,  and  had  not  in  former  years  been  known  to  hunt ;  exhib- 
ited his  stallion  and  other  stock  at  church  meetings,  and  failed  to 
recognize  acquaintances ;  carried  on  disconnected  conversations, 
had  a  roaring  in  his  head,  used  coal  oil  in  his  ears,  and  poured  coal 
oil  on  trees  and  when  it  killed  them  said  he  had  no  sense,  —  neither 
these  eccentricities  nor  other  peculiarities  like  them  show  a  want 
of  capacity  to  make  a  will." 

203 


204      ANCIENT,   CURIOUS,  AND  FAMOUS  WILLS 

This  testator  was  a  being  of  a  high  order  of  reasoning  as  com- 
pared with  many  such  cases  to  be  met  with.  Old  Diogenes  said : 
"  Most  men  are  within  a  finger's  breadth  of  being  mad ;  for  if  a 
man  walk  with  his  middle  finger  pointing  out,  folk  will  think  him 
mad,  but  not  so  if  it  be  his  forefinger." 

Ordinary  mortals  are  very  strict  in  measuring  craziness :  even 
a  slight  divergence  from  the  normal  standard,  or  their  standard 
of  normality,  causes  them  to  adjudge  their  neighbors  crazy :  the 
courts  are,  however,  much  more  lenient  in  their  judgments  in  deal- 
ing with  matters  testamentary,  and  seem  inchned  to  the  view  that 
all  men  are  sane,  only  some  are  less  so  :  or,  as  the  Kentuckian  says 
of  a  certain  liquid  produced  in  his  State,  "  It's  all  good  but  some 
better  than  others"  ;  in  fact,  that  weird  performances  and  peculiar 
actions  are  indications  of  individuality  and  not  of  mental  incapac- 
ity. The  Supreme  Court  of  North  Carolina  has  decided  that  while 
a  failure  to  go  to  church  is  a  moral  deUnquency,  yet  it  does  not  unfit 
a  man  to  make  a  will. 

The  Supreme  Court  of  New  York  has  decided  that  though  one 
believe  in  all  the  abominations  and  wanton  rites  of  ancient  Greece 
and  Rome,  and  in  sincerity  worship  Egypt's  wandering  gods,  dis- 
guised in  brutish  form,  or,  like  the  Hindoo,  stand  for  a  lifetime  on 
one  leg  to  secure  salvation,  or  be  yet  a  howling  dervish,  and  rave 
and  gash  his  naked  body,  thinking  he  is  doing  God  service,  yet  he 
may  be  able  to  transact  the  affairs  of  life  or  dispose  suitably  of 
his  property. 

Any  number  of  individuals  have  been  accused  of  inability  to 
make  their  last  wills  on  account  of  an  inclination  to  hunt  for  hidden 
treasures.  One  such  in  New  York  State  took  with  her  her  nephew, 
and  had  him  carry  a  red  rooster  under  his  arm  for  good  luck, 
and  they  dug  diligently,  but  found  no  gold.  She  left  gold,  how- 
ever, but  not  so  apportioned  as  to  suit  her  relatives,  and  a  will 
contest  followed.  Another  person  bandaged  his  face  with  hand- 
kerchiefs, to  prevent  false  impressions  being  made  on  his  mind : 
probably  he  did  not  succeed,  yet  his  will  was  sustained.  One 
gentleman  charged  his  wife  with  putting  tongs  in  his  bed  to  make 
him  uneasy.  Whether  hot  or  cold  tongs,  is  not  stated  by  the 
decision  of  the  Supreme  Court  of  Connecticut;  but  the  Court 
did  decide  that  such  an  offence  was  more  often  chargeable  to  the 
heart  than  to  the  head. 

A  belief  in  perpetual  motion,  and  a  denial  of  the  revolution  of 
the  earth  on  its  axis,  and  assertions  that  "the  sun  do  move,"  have 


ANCIENT,   CURIOUS,   AND  FAMOUS  WILLS      205 

not  been  sufficient  to  undermine  testamentary  capacity,  accord- 
ing to  the  Supreme  Court  of  Wisconsin. 

Frequent  efforts  have  been  made  to  show  that  marriage  late  in 
life  was  evidence  of  insanity,  but  always  unsuccessfully. 

The  Supreme  Court  of  Connecticut  held  that  it  was  a  perfectly 
natural  trait  for  the  aged  to  tell  favorite  stories  and  to  embellish 
them  a  little  more  or  less,  as  fancy  prompted. 

A  woman's  fondness  for  gossip,  and  the  constant  changing  of  her 
mind  in  regard  to  the  arrangement  of  the  house  she  was  building 
and  the  color  of  paints  used  for  it,  were  insufficient  reasons  for 
setting  aside  her  will :  on  the  contrary,  the  Court  intimated  that 
it  was  perfectly  natural  that  she  should  change  her  mind  and  that 
the  workmen  should  be  scolded.  Certain  it  is,  that  one  feature 
of  this  decision  has  long  been  sustained  by  custom. 

The  same  Court,  the  Supreme  Court  of  Michigan,  decided  that 
a  disposition  on  the  part  of  an  individual  to  give  his  services  to  the 
United  States  Government  in  the  management  of  its  financial 
affairs,  did  not  necessarily  show  insanity,  and  added  that  if  it  did, 
most  of  us  would  not  escape. 

So,  after  contemplating  some  of  these  pecuhar  and  generally 
uncomfortable  departures  from  the  straight  line  of  human  conduct, 
one  feels  that  Dryden  spoke  by  the  card  when  he  said,  "There  is  a 
pleasure  sure  in  being  mad  which  none  but  madmen  know." 

Practical  Suggestions  for  Writing  Wills 

Mr.  John  Marshall  Gest,  a  prominent  member  of  the  Philadel- 
phia Bar,  delivered  an  address  to  the  students  of  the  Law  School  of 
the  University  of  Pennsylvania,  October  17th,  1907,  on  "Practical 
Suggestions  for  Writing  Wills."  It  is  by  far  the  most  entertaining 
and  erudite  composition  the  author  has  ever  read  on  the  subject. 
It  can  be  found  in  the  American  Law  Register  for  November, 
1907,  Volume  55,  No.  8.  Mr.  Gest  opens  his  address  in  the  fol- 
lowing words : 

"Every  man  who  knows  how  to  write  thinks  he  knows  how  to 
write  a  will,  and  long  may  this  happy  hallucination  possess  the 
minds  of  our  lay  brethren,  for  surely  St.  Ives,  the  Patron  Saint  of 
lawyers,  extends  to  none  a  heartier  welcome  in  the  life  beyond 
than  to  the  Jolly  Testator  who  makes  his  own  Will." 

Too  little  is  recorded  of  this  Patron  Saint  of  the  legal  profession. 
The  author  offers  the  following  information  concerning  him : 


206      ANCIENT,  CURIOUS,  AND  FAMOUS  WILLS 

Over  in  France,  on  its  western  shore,  is  a  peninsula,  the  province 
of  Bretagne,  or  Brittany,  and  on  its  rock-bound  coast  the  waves  of 
the  Atlantic  forever  beat ;  it  derives  its  name  from  the  fact  that 
during  early  history,  the  inhabitants  of  Great  Britain,  in  times  of 
local  strife,  left  their  native  country,  and  went  to  Brittany  to 
reside.  This  province  is  one  of  the  most  interesting  portions  of 
Europe,  being  rich  in  history  and  Celtic  ruins,  and  its  landscapes 
are  said  to  be  surprisingly  beautiful ;  its  people  still  retain  their 
ancient  language  and  customs. 

In  the  year  1253,  there  was  born  in  Brittany,  of  a  noble  family, 
one  Yves-Helori,  who  is  recognized  the  world  over  as  the  Patron 
Saint  of  lawyers ;  he  espoused  the  cause  of  the  orphan,  the  widow, 
and  the  poor ;  he  was  greatly  honored  by  his  countrymen,  and  was 
canonized  by  Clement  VI  at  Avignon;  many  monuments  have 
been  erected  and  hymns  written  to  perpetuate  his  virtues  and  his 
memory ;  he  died  at  the  age  of  fifty  years,  and  on  a  tablet  in  one 
of  the  churches  of  Brittany  are  these  words  in  Latin : 

"St.  Ives  was  of  Brittany; 
He  was  a  lawyer,  and  not  a  robber, 
At  which  the  people  wondered." 

Following  the  opening  words  of  his  address,  Mr.  Gest  says : 
"But  with  deference  to  amateur  lawyers,  it  is  by  no  means  easy  to 
draw  a  proper  will.  Lord  Coke  said,  in  Butler  and  Baker's  case, 
one  which  had  been  argued  twenty-one  times,  "  I  find  great  doubts 
and  controversies  daily  arise  on  devises  made  by  last  wills,  in 
respect  of  obscure  and  insensible  words  and  repugnant  sentences, 
the  will  being  made  in  haste,  and  some  pretend  that  the  testator 
in  respect  of  extreme  pain  was  not  compos  mentis  and  divers  other 
scruples  and  questions  are  moved  upon  wills.  But  if  you  please 
to  devise  your  lands  by  will,  make  it  by  good  advice  in  your  perfect 
memory  and  inform  your  Counsel  truly  of  the  estates  and  tenures 
of  your  land,  and  by  God's  Grace  the  resolution  of  the  Judges  in 
this  case  will  be  a  good  direction  to  learned  counsel  to  make  your 
will  according  to  law  and  thereby  prevent  questions  and  con- 
troversies." 

"For  some  three  centuries,"  adds  Mr.  Gest,  "this  sound  advice 
has  been  open  to  him  who  would  read  it,  and  yet  testators  have 
such  a  reluctance  to  pay  a  fee  to  a  lawyer,  that  they  will  draw 
their  wills  themselves,  sometimes  with  the  assistance  of  Dunlap, 
or  have  them,  as  Lord  Coke  says  in  the  preface  to  the  second 


ANCIENT,   CURIOUS,  AND  FAMOUS  WILLS      207 

Volume  of  his  Reports,  'Intricately,  absurdly  and  repugnantly 
set  down  by  parsons,  scriveners  and  such  other  imperites.' " 

Sir  Edward  Coke  died  in  1634 ;  as  is  well  known,  he  was  one  of 
the  Chief  Justices  of  England.  His  ardent  support  of  liberal 
measures  in  Parliament,  especially  the  right  of  Freedom  of  Debate, 
brought  him  into  trouble,  and  he  suffered  nine  months'  imprison- 
ment in  the  Tower  of  London.  He  had  great  popularity,  and  his 
utterances  and  courage  did  much  to  contribute  to  the  final  result 
in  the  struggle  between  the  Crown  and  Commons.  His  books  are 
still  regarded  as  authoritative  treatises  on  Enghsh  Law. 

A  Last  Will 

The  following  prose  poem  was  written  by  Mr.  WilHston  Fish,  a 
prominent  lawyer  of  Chicago,  lUinois  :  Mr.  Fish  still  resides  in  Chi- 
cago. The  will  is  a  sentimental  and  purely  fanciful  creation  :  it  first 
appeared  in  "Harper's  Weekly"  in  1898,  and  is  reproduced  here  by 
permission  of  Messrs,  Harper  and  Brothers.  The  will  has  become 
one  of  the  classics  of  American  hterature,  and  has  been  published 
and  republished  by  newspapers  and  magazines  throughout  the 
Enghsh-speaking  world.  The  original  from  the  pen  of  Mr.  Fish 
varies  slightly  from  the  copy  here  given,  this  production  having 
been  embellished  somewhat  by  various  editors.  It  has  sometimes 
been  designated  as  the  "Insane  Man's  Will,"  and  Mr.  Fish  has  been 
deluged  with  inquiries  on  the  subject:  the  history  given  above, 
however,  is  based  on  personal  investigation  made  by  the  author. 

"He  was  stronger  and  cleverer,  no  doubt,  than  other  men,  and 
in  many  broad  lines  of  business  he  had  grown  rich,  until  his  wealth 
exceeded  exaggeration.  One  morning,  in  his  office,  he  directed  a 
request  to  his  confidential  lawyer  to  come  to  him  in  the  afternoon. 
He  intended  to  have  his  will  drawn.  A  will  is  a  solemn  matter,  even 
with  men  whose  lives  are  given  up  to  business,  and  who  are  by  habit 
mindful  of  the  future.  After  giving  this  direction  he  took  up  no 
other  matter,  but  sat  at  his  desk  alone  and  in  silence. 

"  It  was  a  day  when  summer  was  first  new.  The  pale  leaves  upon 
the  trees  were  starting  forth  upon  the  still  unbending  branches. 
The  grass  in  the  parks  had  a  freshness  in  its  green  like  the  fresh- 
ness of  the  blue  in  the  sky  and  of  the  yellow  of  the  sun  —  a  fresh- 
ness to  make  one  wish  that  life  might  renew  its  youth.  The  clear 
breezes  from  the  south  wantoned  about,  and  then  were  still,  as  if 
loath  to  go  finally  away.     Half  idly,  half  thoughtfully,  the  rich 


208      ANCIENT,   CURIOUS,   AND  FAMOUS  WILLS 

man  wrote  upon  the  white  paper  before  him,  beginning  what  he 
wrote  with  capital  letters,  such  as  he  had  not  made  since,  as  a  boy 
in  school,  he  had  taken  pride  in  his  skill  with  the  pen  : 

"I,  Charles  Lounsbury,  being  of  sound  mind  and  disposing 
memory,  do  hereby  make  and  publish  this  my  last  will  and  testa- 
ment, in  order  as  justly  as  may  be  to  distribute  my  interest  in  the 
world  among  succeeding  men. 

"That  part  of  my  interest  which  is  known  in  law  and  recognized 
in  the  sheep-bound  volumes  as  my  property,  being  inconsiderable 
and  of  no  account,  I  make  no  disposal  of  in  this  my  will. 

"My  right  to  live,  being  but  a  life  estate,  is  not  at  my  disposal, 
but  these  things  excepted  all  else  in  the  world  I  now  proceed  to 
devise  and  bequeath  : 

"Item:  I  give  to  good  fathers  and  mothers,  in  trust  for  their 
children,  all  good  little  words  of  praise  and  encouragement,  and 
all  quaint  pet  names  and  endearments,  and  I  charge  said  parents 
to  use  them  justly  and  generously,  as  the  needs  of  their  children 
may  require. 

"Item:  I  leave  to  children  inclusively,  but  only  for  the  term 
of  their  childhood,  all  and  every,  the  flowers  of  the  fields  and  the 
blossoms  of  the  woods,  with  the  right  to  play  among  them  freely, 
according  to  the  customs  of  children,  warning  them  at  the  same 
time  against  thistles  and  thorns.  And  I  devise  to  children  the 
banks  of  the  brooks,  and  the  golden  sands  beneath  the  waters 
thereof,  and  the  odors  of  the  willows  that  dip  therein,  and  the  white 
clouds  that  float  high  over  the  giant  trees.  And  I  leave  the  chil- 
dren the  long,  long  days  to  be  merry  in,  in  a  thousand  ways,  and 
the  night  and  the  moon  and  the  train  of  the  Milky  Way  to  wonder 
at,  but  subject  nevertheless  to  the  rights  hereinafter  given  to  lovers. 

"Item:  I  devise  to  boys  jointly  all  the  useful  idle  fields  and 
commons  where  ball  may  be  played ;  all  pleasant  waters  where  one 
may  swim ;  all  snow-clad  hills  where  one  may  coast  and  all  streams 
and  ponds  where  one  may  fish,  or  where,  when  grim  Winter  comes, 
one  may  skate ;  to  have  and  to  hold  the  same  for  the  period  of  their 
boyhood.  And  all  meadows  with  the  clover  blossoms  and  butter- 
flies thereof,  the  woods  and  their  appurtenances,  the  squirrels  and 
birds,  and  echoes  and  strange  noises,  and  all  distant  places  which 
may  be  visited,  together  with  the  adventures  there  found,  and  I 
give  to  said  boys  each  his  own  place  at  the  fireside  at  night,  with  all 
pictures  that  may  be  seen  in  the  burning  wood,  to  enjoy  without 
let  or  hindrance,  and  without  any  incumbrance  of  care. 


ANCIENT,   CURIOUS,  AND  FAMOUS  WILLS      209 

"  Item  :  I  give  and  bequeath  to  girls  all  beauty  and  gentleness ; 
and  to  them  I  give  the  crown  of  purity  and  innocence  which  is 
theirs  by  right  of  birth  and  sex ;  and  also  in  due  season  the  abiding 
love  of  brave  and  generous  husbands,  and  the  divine  trust  of 
motherhood. 

"Item  :  To  young  men  jointly  I  devise  and  bequeath  all  boister- 
ous, inspiring  sports  of  rivalry,  and  I  give  to  them  the  disdain  of 
weakness  and  undaunted  confidence  in  their  own  strength,  though 
they  are  rude.  I  give  them  the  power  to  make  lasting  friend- 
ships and  of  possessing  companions,  and  to  them  exclusively  I  give 
all  merry  songs  and  brave  choruses,  to  sing  with  lusty  voices. 

"  Item  :  To  lovers,  I  devise  their  imaginary  world,  with  whatever 
they  may  need,  as  the  stars  of  the  sky,  the  red  roses  by  the  wall, 
the  bloom  of  the  hawthorn,  the  sweet  strains  of  music,  and  aught 
else  by  which  they  may  desire  to  figure  to  each  other  the  lastingness 
and  beauty  of  their  love. 

"Item :  And  to  those  who  are  no  longer  children  or  youths  or 
lovers,  I  leave  memory,  and  I  bequeath  to  them  the  volumes  of 
the  poems  of  Burns  and  Shakespeare  and  of  other  poets,  if  there 
be  others,  to  the  end  that  they  may  five  over  the  old  days  again, 
freely  and  fully,  without  tithe  or  diminution. 

"Item:  To  our  loved  ones  with  snowy  crowns  I  bequeath  the 
happiness  of  old  age,  the  love  and  gratitude  of  their  children,  until 
they  fall  asleep." 

The  Lawyer's  Best  Friend 

A  hundred  years  ago,  English  lawyers,  when  dining  together, 
used  to  drink  to  the  health  of  "The  Schoolmaster,"  for  school- 
masters then  often  drew  up  wills  for  people,  and  by  their  ignorance 
of  legal  technicalities  gave  the  gentlemen  of  the  long  robe  much 
remunerative  business.  "To  the  lawyers'  best  friend  —  the  man 
who  makes  his  own  will,"  was  also  a  regular  toa-st  at  dinners  of  the 
Bar. 

The  following  poem  is  inscribed  to  the  legal  profession : 

THE    JOLLY    TESTATOR    WHO    MAKES    HIS    OWN    WILL 

"Ye  lawyers  who  live  upon  litigants'  fees, 
And  who  need  a  good  many  to  live  at  your  ease ; 
Grave  or  gay,  wise  or  witty,  whate'er  your  degree. 
Plain  stuff  or  State's  Counsel,  take  counsel  of  me  :  — 
When  a  festive  occasion  your  spirit  unbends, 
You  should  never  forget  the  profession's  best  friends : 


210      ANCIENT,   CURIOUS,  AND  FAMOUS  WILLS 

So  we'll  send  round  the  wine,  and  a  light  bumper  fill 
To  the  jolly  testator  who  makes  his  own  will. 

*'  He  premises  his  wish  and  his  purpose  to  save 
All  dispute  among  friends  when  he's  laid  in  his  grave ; 
Then  he  straightway  proceeds  more  disputes  to  create 
Than  a  long  summer's  day  would  give  time  to  relate. 
He  writes  and  erases,  he  blunders  and  blots, 
He  produces  such  puzzles  and  Gordian  knots, 
That  a  lawyer  intending  to  frame  the  thing  ill. 
Couldn't  match  the  testator  who  makes  his  own  will. 

"  Testators  are  good,  but  a  feeling  more  tender 
Springs  up  when  I  think  of  the  feminine  gender  ! 
The  testatrix  for  me,  who,  like  Telemaque's  mother. 
Unweaves  at  one  time  what  she  wove  at  another. 
She  bequeathes,  she  repeats,  she  recalls  a  donation, 
And  ends  by  revoking  her  own  revocation ; 
Still  scribbling  or  scratching  some  new  codicil. 
Oh  !  success  to  the  woman  who  makes  her  own  will. 

"  'Tisn't  easy  to  say,  'mid  her  varying  vapors. 
What  scraps  should  be  deemed  testamentary  papers. 
'Tisn't  easy  from  these  her  intention  to  find. 
When  perhaps  she  herself  never  knew  her  own  mind. 
Every  step  that  we  take,  there  arises  fresh  trouble :  — 
Is  the  legacy  lapsed  ?     Is  it  single  or  double  ? 
No  customer  brings  so  much  grist  to  the  mill. 
As  the  wealthy  old  woman  who  makes  her  own  will. 

"  The  law  decides  questions  of  meum  and  iuum. 
By  kindly  consenting  to  make  the  thing  suum. 
The  ^sopian  fable  instructively  tells. 
What  becomes  of  the  oysters,  and  who  gets  the  shells. 
The  legatees  starve,  but  the  lawyers  are  fed ; 
The  Seniors  have  riches,  the  Juniors  have  bread ; 
The  available  surplus  of  course  will  be  nil. 
From  the  worthy  testator  who  makes  his  own  will. 

"  You  had  better  pay  toll  when  you  take  to  the  road, 
Than  attempt  by  a  by-way  to  reach  your  abode ; 
You  had  better  employ  a  conveyancer's  hand. 
Than  encounter  the  risk  that  your  will  shouldn't  stand. 
From  the  broad  beaten  track  when  the  traveler  strays. 
He  may  land  in  a  bog,  or  be  lost  in  a  maze ; 
And  the  law,  when  defied,  will  avenge  itself  still, 
On  the  man  and  the  woman  who  make  their  own  will." 


ANCIENT,   CURIOUS,  AND  FAMOUS  WILLS      211 


Ingersoll  on  Decoration  Day 

Robert  G.  Ingersoll  died  at  Dobbs  Ferry,  New  York,  July  21, 
1899.  He  left  no  will.  A  number  of  his  great  speeches  were  funeral 
orations.  The  following  extract  from  an  address  made  on  Decora- 
tion Day  to  the  Soldiers  at  Indianapohs,  Indiana,  is  regarded  as  the 
most  touching  example  of  imagery  and  vision  to  be  found  in  Eng- 
lish literature : 

"The  past  rises  before  me  Uke  a  dream.  Again  we  are  in  the 
great  struggle  for  national  life.  We  hear  the  sound  of  prepara- 
tion —  the  music  of  the  boisterous  drums,  the  silver  voices  of  heroic 
bugles.  We  see  thousands  of  assemblages,  and  hear  the  appeals 
of  orators ;  we  see  the  pale  cheeks  of  women  and  the  flushed  faces 
of  men ;  and  in  those  assemblages  we  see  all  the  dead  whose  dust 
we  have  covered  with  flowers.  We  lose  sight  of  them  no  more. 
We  are  with  them  when  they  enhst  in  the  great  army  of  freedom. 
We  see  them  part  from  those  they  love.  Some  are  walking  for  the 
last  time  in  quiet  woody  places  with  the  maidens  they  adore. 
We  hear  the  whisperings  and  the  sweet  vows  of  eternal  love  as 
they  hngeringly  part  forever.  Others  are  bending  over  cradles, 
kissing  babies  that  are  asleep.  Some  are  receiving  the  blessings 
of  old  men.  Some  are  parting  who  hold  them  and  press  them  to 
their  hearts  again  and  again,  and  say  nothing ;  and  some  are  talk- 
ing with  wives,  and  endeavoring  with  brave  words  spoken  in  the 
old  tones  to  drive  from  their  hearts  the  awful  fear.  We  see  them 
part.  We  see  the  wife  standing  in  the  door,  with  the  babe  in  her 
arms  —  standing  in  the  sunlight  sobbing ;  at  the  turn  of  the  road 
a  hand  waves  —  she  answers  by  holding  high  in  her  loving  hands 
the  child.     He  is  gone  —  and  forever." 

Elegy  on  a  Wife 

A  tender  and  touching  tribute  to  a  deceased  wife  by  Mr.  Mitch- 
ell Kennerley,  of  New  York,  is  contained  in  "  Thysia,  an  Elegy  "  ; 
this  beautiful  little  volume  was  issued  about  a  year  ago,  and  is  one 
of  the  profoundest  utterances  of  grief  appearing  in  print  in  recent 
years. 

The  Hnes  below  are  taken  from  the  poem  "Alone,"  which  is 
typical  of  the  contents  of  the  volume : 


212      ANCIENT,   CURIOUS,   AND  FAMOUS  WILLS 


'  The  bier,  the  bell,  the  grave,  silence,  and  night ; 

And  you  are  laid  in  that  cold  ground,  and  gone. 
I  hardly  missed  my  love  till  now ;  —  O  light 

Of  my  worn,  weary  life,  dark,  dark,  alone, 
Blindly  I  feel  your  empty  pillowed  place ; 

O  sacred  head,  luxuriant  hair,  and  arm 
Through  the  dim  hours  linked  in  some  dear  embrace. 

Lips  pressed  to  mine,  and  bosom  beating  warm. 
Breath,  than  the  evening  breath  of  heaven  more  sweet. 

Words  faltering,  passion-mixed,  or  sighed  with  prayer. 
Shy,  soft  caresses  of  the  hand,  to  greet 

Or  tell  some  passing  need,  or  gentle  care  — 
O  love,  all  these  have  been ;  ah,  woe  is  me. 
For  you  are  gone,  and  these  no  more  shall  be. 


A    MEMORY 

*'  I  think  the  gentle  soul  of  him 

Goes  softly  in  some  garden  place, 
With  the  old  smile  time  may  not  dim 
Upon  his  face. 

*'  He  was  a  lover  of  the  spring. 

With  love  that  never  quite  forgets, 
Surely  sees  roses  blooming 
And  violets. 

"  Now  that  his  day  of  toil  is  through, 
I  love  to  think  he  sits  at  ease, 
W^ith  some  old  volume  that  he  knows 
Upon  his  knees. 

"  Watching,  perhaps,  with  quiet  eyes 
The  white  clouds'  drifting  argosy ; 
Or  twilight  opening  flower-wise 
On  land  and  sea. 

"He  who  so  loved  companionship 

I  may  not  think  walks  quite  alone. 
Failing  some  friendly  hand  to  slip 
Within  his  own. 

"  Those  whom  he  loved  aforetime,  still, 
I  doubt  not,  bear  him  company ; 
1  think  that  laughter  yet  may  thrill 
Where  he  may  be. 


ANCIENT,   CURIOUS,  AND  FAMOUS  WILLS      213 

"  A  thought,  a  fancy  —  who  may  tell  ? 
Yet  I  who  ever  pray  it  so 
Feel  through  ray  tears  that  all  is  well 
And  this  I  know. 

"  That  God  is  gentle  to  His  guest, 
And,  therefore,  may  I  gladly  say. 
Feel  through  my  tears  'tis  for  the  best, 
On  this  sad  day," 

Will  of  Margaret  HAUGHfibY 

The  first  monument  erected  to  a  woman  in  this  country  was  that 
to  the  memory  of  Margaret  Haughery. 

The  monument  stands  in  Margaret  Place,  not  far  from  Canal 
Street  in  the  City  of  New  Orleans.  The  figure  is  that  of  a  woman 
sitting  in  a  rustic  chair,  dressed  in  a  plain  skirt  and  loose  sack, 
with  a  simple  shawl  thrown  over  her  shoulders,  her  arm  encircling 
a  child. 

Prior  to  her  death  and  by  her  last  will  she  gave  to  charitable 
institutions  of  the  city  of  New  Orleans  about  six  hundred  thousand 
dollars.     She  died  in  1882. 

Her  parents  were  Irish  immigrants,  who  died  of  yellow  fever. 
When  quite  young  she  married  an  Irishman  of  her  own  rank,  who 
also  died  shortly  after  the  marriage,  and  a  year  thereafter  she  lost 
her  only  child.  The  childless  widow  became  a  laundress  in  the 
St.  Charles  Hotel,  and  afterward  entered  into  the  bakery  business, 
in  which  she  was  eminently  successful.  Her  whole  life  was  de- 
voted to  charities.  Catholic,  Protestant,  and  Hebrew  alike.  She 
never  learned  to  read  or  write,  and  could  not  distinguish  one 
figure  from  another.     Her  will  is  signed  with  a  mark. 

The  fund  for  the  monument  was  obtained  by  popular  sub- 
scription. 

Her  funeral  sermon  was  preached  by  the  Archbishop ;  the  busi- 
ness of  the  city  was  stopped,  and  a  thousand  orphans  representing 
every  asylum  occupied  seats  of  honor. 

Will  of  John  Ericsson 

John  Ericsson  built  the  Monitor  and  other  engines  of  destruc- 
tion, but  the  rattle  of  drays,  the  crowing  of  cocks,  and  the  bark- 
ing of  dogs  were  too  much  for  his  nerves.  There  is  in  existence 
a  receipt  for  five  dollars  paid  to  one  Charles  Herbert  for  the  re- 
moval of  a  dog  and  the  agreement  not  to  keep  one  on  his  premises 


214      ANCIENT,   CURIOUS,  AND  FAMOUS  WILLS 

for  a  period  of  one  year.  And  it  is  also  a  part  of  history  that  he 
bought  up  his  neighbors'  chickens  to  secure  the  privilege  of  wring- 
ing their  necks. 

Ericsson  died  March  8,  1889.  His  will  is  dated  the  15th  day 
of  May,  1878. 

On  November  7,  1884,  he  wrote  to  a  friend  in  Sweden  as  follows  : 

"They  imagine  in  Sweden  that  I  now  possess  a  large  fortune, 
not  considering  what  it  has  cost  me  to  be  useful  to  my  fellow-men. 
They  do  not  know  that  for  twenty  years,  during  which  time  I  have 
spent  a  million  crowns,  I  have  not  worked  for  money." 

His  fortune  at  the  time  of  his  death  amounted  to  about  one 
hundred  thousand  dollars,  and  his  claims  against  the  United 
States  Government  were  required  to  make  good  the  bequests  in 
his  will.  These  were  distributed  among  his  office  assistants, 
female  dependents,  certain  friends.  Von  Rosen,  Adlersparre,  the 
widow  of  his  son  Hjalmar,  and  his  nephews  and  nieces. 

The  instrument  is  of  considerable  length,  and  he  describes  him- 
self as  John  Ericsson,  Civil  Engineer,  of  the  city  of  New  York. 
In  a  codicil  to  his  will,  he  mentions  his  share  of  the  profits  and 
emoluments  that  might  arise  from  the  manufacture  and  sale  of 
his  patents  that  might  thereafter  be  granted  by  the  United  States 
for  improvements  in  engines.  These  engines  are  described  as 
two  motive  engines,  designated  as  a  solar  engine  and  a  sun  motor. 

"Men  of  genius,"  said  Dean  Stanley  over  the  grave  of  Charles 
Dickens,  "are  different  from  what  we  suppose  them  to  be.  They 
have  greater  pleasures  and  greater  pains,  greater  affections  and 
greater  temptations  than  the  generality  of  mankind,  and  they 
can  never  be  altogether  understood  by  their  fellowmen."  "  Genius 
implies  always  a  certain  fanaticism  of  temperament,"  says  James 
Russell  Lowell.  Mr.  William  Conant  Church,  in  his  life  of  Erics- 
son, concludes  his  work  with  these  words :  "Let  us,  in  spite  of  his 
own  doubts,  accept  the  cheerful  faith  of  his  friend  Adlersparre, 
that  assigns  to  him  a  kindlier  sphere  beyond,  where  just  apprecia- 
tion and  intelligent  sympathy  may  stimulate  him  to  still  higher 
efforts.  So  ends  the  story  of  John  Ericsson,  the  son  of  Olaf,  the 
son  of  Nils,  the  son  of  Eric,  the  son  of  Magnus  Stadig,  the  miner." 

The  Baltimore,  an  American  warship,  under  command  of  Captain 
Schley,  conveyed  the  remains  of  Ericsson  to  Sweden,  flying  on  her 
foremast  a  white,  square  flag  with  five  blue  crosses,  indicating  that 
she  was  on  King's  business  and  must  not  be  halted  or  interfered 
with  on  her  journey. 


ANCIENT,  CURIOUS,  AND  FAMOUS  WILLS      215 

Henby  Swinburne 

Henry  Swinburne  was  an  ecclesiastical  lawyer,  born  at  York, 
England,  in  1560,  and  died  in  1623.  He  was  educated  at  Oxford. 
He  wrote  "A  briefe  Treatise  of  Testaments  and  last  Willes," 
which  was  first  published  in  London  in  1590  and  passed  through 
many  editions,  the  last  one  appearing  in  three  volumes  in  1803. 
The  book  is  a  rare  one  at  this  time,  being  one  of  the  earliest  written 
on  the  subject  of  wills.  It  was  formerly  much  consulted  and 
greatly  valued. 

Swinburne  was  an  entertaining  writer ;  he  mentions  the  case  of 
a  monk,  who  came  to  a  dying  gentleman  to  make  his  will.  The 
monk  asked  the  gentleman  if  he  would  give  such  a  manor  and 
lordship  to  his  monastery ;  the  gentleman  answered  yea :  then 
if  he  would  give  such  and  such  estates  to  such  and  such  pious  uses. 
The  gentleman  answered  yea,  again.  The  heir  at  law,  observing 
the  covetousness  of  the  monk  and  that  the  estate  would  be  taken 
from  him,  asked  the  testator  if  the  monk  was  not  a  very  knave, 
and  he  again  answered  yea :  and  this  last  answer  having  been 
reported  to  the  Court,  the  instrument  was  adjudged  no  will. 

A  Friend  of  Charles  Dickens 

By  his  will,  dated  May  8th,  1868,  Mr.  H.  F.  Chorley,  an 
Enghsh  critic  and  author  who  died  in  1872,  bequeathed  to  his 
friend,  Charles  Dickens,  of  Gad's  Hill  place,  £50  for  a  ring  as  a 
token  from  one  greatly  helped  by  him.  An  annuity  of  £200  he 
gave  to  Mary,  the  eldest  daughter  of  Dickens. 

A  Place  for  Everything 

Mr.  Justice  Dean  once  remarked  in  a  will  case  before  him  :  "In 
what  particular  or  inappropriate  place  an  elderly  lady,  or,  for  that 
matter,  a  young  one,  will  put  articles  or  writings  of  value,  is  hard 
to  even  guess." 

Poverty  and  Riches 

Of  the  poor  man,  it  has  been  written :  "He  may  make  his  will 
upon  his  nail  for  anything  he  has  to  give." 

Bulwer  says,  "A  will  is  wealth's  last  caprice." 


216      ANCIENT,   CURIOUS,  AND  FAMOUS  WILLS 

The  Legality  of  a  Mass 

In  England,  masses  are  held  to  be  superstitious  and  unlawful : 
in  the  United  States,  opinions  are  divided :  in  most  of  the  States 
of  the  Union,  bequests  for  the  purposes  of  masses  are  valid;  in 
others,  however,  they  are  looked  upon  as  an  attempt  to  create  a 
private  trust  for  the  benefit  of  the  deceased,  without  any  one  to 
enforce  it,  and  consequently  invalid.  It  may  be  said  that  the 
decisions  holding  the  latter  view  are  not  very  numerous. 

Religious  Bequests  Forbidden 

The  State  of  Mississippi  has  a  statute  which  absolutely  forbids 
bequests,  legacies  and  devises  to  religious  and  ecclesiastical  bodies ; 
it  reads : 

"Every  legacy,  gift,  or  bequest,  of  money  or  personal  property, 
or  of  any  interest,  benefit  or  use  therein,  either  direct,  implied, 
or  otherwise,  contained  in  any  last  will  and  testament,  or  codicil, 
in  favor  of  any  religious  or  ecclesiastical  corporation,  sole  or  aggre- 
gate, or  any  religious  or  ecclesiastical  society,  or  to  any  religious 
denomination  or  association,  either  for  its  own  use  or  benefit,  or 
for  the  purpose  of  being  given  or  appropriated  to  charitable  uses, 
shall  be  null  and  void,  and  the  distributees  shall  take  the  property 
as  though  no  such  testamentary  disposition  had  been  made." 

Under  the  laws  of  the  State  of  Ohio,  testamentary  gifts  for  be- 
nevolent, religious,  educational  or  charitable  purposes,  as  against 
issue,  are  void,  unless  the  will  be  executed  at  least  one  year  before 
the  decease  of  the  testator. 

In  the  District  of  Columbia,  and  in  the  states  of  Georgia,  Idaho, 
Maryland,  Montana,  Nevada,  New  Hampshire,  New  Mexico, 
New  York,  Pennsylvania  and  Washington,  are  also  to  be  found 
laws  restricting  gifts  for  religious  or  charitable  purposes. 

In  the  Pocket  of  an  Old  Dress 

Some  five  years  ago,  a  young  girl  about  seventeen  years  old 
came  to  a  lawyer  in  a  Western  city  and  asked  him  if  he  had 
drawn  her  grandmother's  will.  She  was  a  kittenish  little  person, 
such  as  one  would  think  lived  on  cakes  and  chocolate.  When  told 
it  had  been  drawn,  she  notified  the  lawyer  that  her  grandmother 
had  just  died  of  apoplexy.  He  then  informed  her  that  her  grand- 
mother had  called  a  few  days  before  and  taken  the  will  with  the 


ANCIENT,   CURIOUS,  AND  FAMOUS  WILLS      217 

avowed  intention  of  cutting  her  off.  The  girl  left,  and  the  next 
day  was  back  at  the  law  office  with  the  will,  holding  it  tightly 
with  both  hands.  She  had  found  it  in  the  pocket  of  an  old  dress ; 
it  had  not  been  changed,  and  the  young  woman  receives  the  rev- 
enue on  $100,000  during  her  life.  She  has  since  married  three 
times,  yet  retains  much  life  and  romance  in  her  composition. 
Each  yule-tide  she  sends  the  lawyer  a  book;  the  last  one  was 
"Fanchon  the  Cricket,"  which  treats  of  how  to  rear  twins.  May 
she  grow  old  gracefully,  bless  her  ! 

From  Father  to  Son 

The  late  William  E.  Dodge,  of  New  York,  received  by  will  from 
his  grandfather  a  large  sum  to  be  invested  and  the  income  to  be 
devoted  to  the  spread  of  the  Gospel  and  to  promote  the  Redeemer's 
Kingdom  on  earth,  and  to  be  transmitted,  unimpaired,  to  his 
descendants  for  the  same  purpose.  By  his  will,  Mr.  Dodge  be- 
queathed the  sum  to  his  eldest  son  to  be  by  him  invested  and  the 
income  to  be  sacredly  devoted,  as  indicated  in  the  grandfather's 
will,  and  to  be  handed  down  to  his  descendants  for  a  like  purpose. 
With  regard  to  charitable  bequests,  Mr,  Dodge  in  his  will  said : 
"Acting  from  a  judgment  deliberately  formed,  based  upon  ob- 
servation of  the  inexpediency  of  testamentary  bequests  to  religious 
and  charitable  objects,  and  believing  it  better  and  wiser  to  give 
liberally  during  life  to  such  objects,  I  make  no  bequests  of  that 
character." 

Spoke  from  Experience 

The  late  Rufus  Hatch,  of  New  York,  in  his  will  gave  this  ad- 
vice to  his  children :  "I  do  not  wish  my  boys  to  go  to  college,  but 
to  receive  a  commercial  education.  Should  any  of  them,  however, 
wish  to  become  lawyer,  doctor  or  clergyman,  then  he  may  go  to 
college.  I  most  strongly  warn  my  children  not  to  use  tobacco  in 
any  shape,  or  form :  nor  to  touch,  taste  or  use  wine  or  liquor  in 
any  way.  I  earnestly  desire  that  my  children  shall  not  gamble 
in  any  way  for  money,  as  their  father  has  had  experience  sufficient 
to  serve  for  all  posterity." 

Will  of  Eugene  Kelley 

In  the  will  of  the  late  Eugene  Kelley,  of  New  York,  is  found  this 
beautiful  sentiment :  "I  desire  to  record  in  this  solemn  instrument. 


218      ANCIENT,   CURIOUS,  AND  FAMOUS  WILLS 

the  expression  of  my  respect  and  esteem  of  my  friend,  J.  D.,  and 
the  honor  in  which  for  many  years  past  I  have  held  him.  During 
our  long  association,  his  upright  and  manly  character  has  ever  been 
the  same,  and  has  so  endeared  him  to  me,  that  I  could  not  rest 
satisfied  to  part  from  him  without  giving  utterance  to  this  testi- 
mony. His  ample  fortune  would  make  it  idle  for  me  to  attest  my 
feeling  toward  him  by  a  legacy,  but  I  trust  he  will  receive  from 
my  wife  some  personal  article  of  mine  which  will  remain  to  him 
a  reminder  of  his  friend's  affection."  With  reference  to  charitable 
bequests,  he  adds,  "I  make  this  expression  of  preference  in  favor  of 
Catholic  and  Hebrew  institutions,  solely  because  other  denomina- 
tions are  wealthier  and  better  able  to  care  for  their  poor." 

Samuel  J.  Randall  died  Poor 

The  late  Samuel  J.  Randall,  an  American  political  leader,  left 
an  estate  valued  at  $789.74,  which  was  not  enough  to  pay  the 
bills  of  the  physicians  who  attended  him  in  his  last  illness.  Of 
this  amount,  $589.74  was  due  by  the  government  for  salary,  leav- 
ing the  total  value  of  his  property  $200  at  the  time  of  his  death. 
This  is  a  remarkable  showing  for  a  man  who  spent  thirty  years 
of  his  life  in  the  most  responsible  positions  in  the  service  of  his 
country. 

Will  of  James  Smithson 

The  Smithsonian  Institution  in  Washington  was  founded  by 
James  Smithson,  an  Englishman  born  in  France.  He  was  never  in 
the  United  States,  yet  he  left  his  fortune  of  half  a  million  dollars 
to  found  at  Washington,  under  the  name  of  the  Smithsonian 
Institution,  "an  establishment  for  the  increase  and  diffusion  of 
knowledge  among  men,"  provided  a  certain  nephew  died  without 
issue,  legitimate  or  illegitimate.  The  disposition  of  the  fund 
was  for  ten  years  debated  in  Congress,  but  finally  the  trust  was 
accepted,  and  a  board  of  regents  was  appointed.  Our  Weather 
Bureau  is  one  of  the  creations  of  the  Institution. 

Sailors'  Snug  Harbor 

Robert  Richard  Randall,  of  New  York,  was  the  founder  of  the 
"Sailors'  Snug  Harbor"  for  the  purpose  of  maintaining  and  sup- 
porting aged,  decrepit  and  worn-out  sailors.  The  will  was  at- 
tacked by  the  heirs,  but  was  held  valid  by  the  United  States 
Supreme  Court. 


ANCIENT,   CURIOUS,  AND   FAMOUS  WILLS      219 

Where  to  Invest 

ColHs  P.  Huntington,  of  New  York,  directed  his  executors  to 
invest  funds  in  bonds  of  the  United  States,  or  in  bonds,  stocks  or 
securities  of  any  state  north  of  the  Potomac  and  Ohio  rivers,  and 
east  of  the  Mississippi. 

A  Big  Undertaking 

Amos  R.  Eno,  late  of  Connecticut,  made  a  bequest  to  the  Cham- 
ber of  Commerce,  of  New  York,  to  provide  for,  and  assist,  such  of 
its  members  as  might  be  reduced  to  poverty,  and  their  widows  and 
children. 

The  Term  "Miss  Nancy" 

The  term  "Miss  Nancy"  is  applied  to  a  man  who  is  over-fastid- 
ious in  his  dress,  or  who  has  effeminate  manners.  The  expression 
dates  back  to  1730.  There  was  a  celebrated  actress  known  as 
Mrs.  Anna  Oldfield,  and  she  was  buried  in  Westminster  Abbey : 
she  was  familiarly  known  as  "Miss  Nancy,"  and  was  noted  for 
her  extreme  vanity  and  particularity  in  dress.  Not  only  did  she 
devote  much  thought  to  this  during  her  life,  but  she  was  careful 
to  provide  for  her  proper  attire  after  death,  and,  according  to  her 
instructions,  she  lay  in  state  attired  in  elegant  garments  and  the 
rarest  of  laces.     She  has  had  many  eulogists ;  one  poet  says : 

"Engaging  Oldfield,  who,  with  grace  and  ease, 
Could  join  the  arts  to  ruin  and  to  please." 

And  the  poet,  Pope,  also  credits  her  with  saying  to  her  maid : 

"One  would  not  sure  be  frightful  when  one's  dead. 
And,  —  Betty,  —  give  this  cheek  a  little  red." 

She  died  in  1730  in  London,  and  left  the  royalty  and  half  the  town 
in  tears. 

A  Pew  for  a  Sealskin  Sack 

A  certain  lady,  dying  in  New  York,  was  entitled  to  the  use  for 
several  years  to  come  of  a  pew  in  Grace  Church,  New  York ;  she 
bequeathed  its  use  to  a  female  relative  living  in  Johnstown,  Penn- 
sylvania; the  donee,  being  unable  to  use  the  pew,  transferred  the 
right  to  one  who  could  use  it,  and  received  in  return  a  sealskin 
sack  which  is  reported  to  have  been  of  great  length  and  beauty, 
thus  showing  like  John  Gilpin's  wife  that,  though  on  comfort  bent, 
"she  had  a  frugal  mind." 


220      ANCIENT,  CURIOUS,  AND  FAMOUS  WILLS 

Found  in  a  Note-book 

Not  known  until  recently  to  be  in  existence,  because  it  was 
written  faintly  in  pencil  in  an  old  pocket  memorandum  book,  the 
will  of  Dr.  John  D.  Potter,  of  Pittsburgh,  who  died  July  22,  1906, 
was  recently  filed  for  probate  by  his  brother,  Robert  J.  Potter. 

The  will  disposes  of  $5000  personal  property  and  real  estate  of 
unestimated  value  situated  in  Pittsburgh  and  East  Deer  township. 

It  reads : 

"John  D.  Potter  will,  dated  January  22, 1903.  I  bequeath  to  my 
mother  all  my  property,  both  real  and  personal.  I  hereby  appoint 
my  brother,  R.  J.  Potter,  executor  of  my  estate  without  bond. 
John  D.  Potter,  M.D." 

Working  with  a  Will 

"All  lawyers  like  to  take  a  rest. 
Like  most  of  us,  and  still 
The  average  lawyer's  happiest 
When  working  with  a  will." 

A  Certain  Pastor  and  Elder  Debarred 

There  has  just  been  filed  at  Potts ville,  Pennsylvania,  the  oddest 
instrument  ever  recorded  in  that  city :  the  document  conveys 
land  for  the  erection  of  a  new  church,  but  stipulates  that  when  the 
church  is  erected,  a  certain  pastor  shall  be  forever  debarred  from 
holding  an  office  or  preaching  a  sermon  in  the  building,  and  that 
a  specified  elder  shall  also  be  precluded  from  holding  an  office. 

Accuracy  in  Writing 

Few  realize  the  value  of  accuracy  in  testamentary  and  other 
writings.  The  other  day  there  appeared  a  decision  by  the  Supreme 
Court  of  Missouri,  upsetting  a  sale,  where  the  judges  gravely  de- 
cided that  "Mike"  did  not  mean  "Michael";  and  one  of  the 
arguments  in  reaching  this  result  was,  that  to  have  called 
Michael  Angelo,  "Mike"  Angelo,  would  have  been  a  sacrilege  to 
the  memory  of  the  great  painter. 

A  Will  of  the  Future 

If  the  late  prevailing  high  prices  for  meat  continue,  Puck  of 
New  York  suggests  the  following  will : 

"  In  the  name  of  God,  Amen  !     I,  John  Doe,  in  the  City  of  Jersey, 


ANCIENT,   CURIOUS,  AND  FAMOUS  WILLS      221 

County  of  Hudson,  State  of  New  Jersey,  being  of  sound  mind  and 
memory,  do  hereby  make,  publish,  and  declare  this  my  Last  Will 
and  Testament  in  manner  following,  that  is  to  say : 

"First,  I  bequeath  to  my  eldest  son,  John,  two  juicy  porterhouse 
steaks  now  in  the  custody  of  the  Arctic  Storage  Company; 

"  Second,  /  leave  to  my  son,  Wilfred,  a  leg  of  spring  lamb  now 
stored  with  the  Freezem  Warehouse; 

"Third,  /  leave  to  my  daughter  six  pounds  of  veal  chops  locked  in 
the  refrigerator  in  the  cellar  beneath  my  residence,  the  combination  for 
the  lock  of  which  is  held  by  the  Columbia  Trust  Company.  It  is  also 
my  desire  that  the  executors  have  these  chops  frenched  before  turning 
same  over  to  the  legatee; 

"Fourth,  /  leave  to  my  mother-in-law  one  haslet,  which  will  be 
delivered  to  her  upon  application  at  either  the  Morris  or  Swift  beef 
houses. 

"Lastly,  /  hereby  nominate  Richard  Roe,  the  wholesale  butcher, 
Morris  Moe,  the  beef-trust  magnate,  and  Paul  Poe,  meat  manipu- 
lator, to  be  executors  of  this  my  last  will  and  testament,  hereby  revok- 
ing all  former  wills  by  me  made. 

"  In  Witness  Whereof,  I  have  hereunto  set  my  hand  and  seal,  the 
eighth  day  of  May  in  the  year  of  our  Lord,  Nineteen  Hundred  and 
Ten. 

"F.  P.  Pitzer." 
[Seal] 

Doing  ms  Duty 

The  farmer  marched  into  the  little  grocer's  shop  with  a  firm  step. 
"I  want  that  tub  of  butter,"  he  said,  "and  that  lot  of  sugar,  and  all 
that  other  stuff." 

"Good  gracious!"  said  the  widow  who  kept  the  shop.  "What- 
ever do  you  want  with  all  them  goods  ?  " 

"I  dunno,"  said  the  farmer,  scratching  his  head;  "but,  you 
see,  I'm  the  executor  of  your  husband's  will,  and  the  lawyers  told 
me  I  was  to  carry  out  the  provisions." 

Major  Andre's  Request  of  Washington 

"  Tappan,  the  1st  October,  1780. 
"Sir. 

"  Buoy'd  above  the  Terror  of  Death  by  the  Consciousness  of  a 
Life  devoted  to  honorable  pursuits  and  stained  with  no  Action  that 


222      ANCIENT,   CURIOUS,  AND  FAMOUS  WILLS 

can  give  me  Remorse,  I  trust  the  request  I  make  to  your  Excellency 
at  this  serious  period  and  which  is  to  soften  my  last  moments  will 
not  be  rejected. 

"  Sympathy  towards  a  Soldier  will  surely  induce  Your  Excellency 
and  a  military  Tribunal  to  adapt  the  mode  of  my  death  to  the  feel- 
ings of  a  Man  of  honour, 

"  Let  me  hope  Sir,  that  if  aught  in  my  character  impresses  you 
with  Esteem  towards  me,  if  aught  in  my  misfortunes  marks  me  as 
the  victim  of  policy  and  not  of  resentment,  I  shall  experience  the 
operation  of  these  Feelings  in  your  Breast  by  being  informed  that  I 
am  not  to  die  on  a  Gibbet. 
"  I  have  the  honour  to  be 

"  Your  Excellency's 
"  Most  obedient  and 
"  most  humble  Servant 
"  John  Andre 

"  Ad.  Gen.  to  the  Brit :  :  Army. 
"  His  Excellency 

"  General  Washington 
"  &ca.  &ca.  &ca." 

President  McKinley's  Last  Prater 

The  last  words  of  great  men  seem  always  to  possess  a  peculiar 
value  in  the  minds  of  the  people;  the  following  is  a  touching 
example : 

In  the  afternoon  of  his  last  day  on  earth  the  President  began  to 
realize  that  his  life  was  slipping  away,  and  that  the  efforts  of  science 
could  not  save  him.  He  asked  Dr.  Rixey  to  bring  the  surgeons  in. 
One  by  one  the  surgeons  entered  and  approached  the  bedside. 
When  they  gathered  about  him,  the  President  opened  his  eyes  and 
said: 

"It  is  useless,  gentlemen ;  I  think  we  ought  to  have  prayer." 

The  dying  man  crossed  his  hands  on  his  breast  and  half  closed 
his  eyes.  There  was  a  beautiful  smile  on  his  countenance.  The 
surgeons  bowed  their  heads.  Tears  streamed  from  the  eyes  of  the 
white-clad  nurses  on  either  side  of  the  bed.  The  yellow  radiance  of 
the  sun  shone  softly  in  the  room. 

"Our  Father  which  art  in  Heaven, "said  the  President  in  a  clear, 
steady  voice. 

The  lips  of  the  surgeons  moved. 


ANCIENT,  CURIOUS,  AND  FAMOUS  WILLS      223 

"Hallowed  be  Thy  name.  Thy  kingdom  come.  Thy  will  be 
done — " 

The  sobbing  of  a  nurse  disturbed  the  still  air.  The  President 
opened  his  eyes  and  closed  them  again. 

"Thy  will  be  done  in  earth  as  it  is  in  Heaven." 

A  long  sigh.  The  sands  of  hfe  were  running  swiftly.  The  sun- 
light died  out ;    the  raindrops  dashed  against  the  windows. 

"  Give  us  this  day  our  daily  bread ;  and  forgive  us  our  debts  as  we 
forgive  our  debtors :  and  lead  us  not  into  temptation,  but  deliver 
us  from  evil." 

Another  silence.  The  surgeons  looked  at  the  dying  face  and  the 
friendly  lips. 

"For  Thine  is  the  kingdom,  the  power  and  the  glory,  forever. 
Amen." 

"Amen,"  whispered  the  surgeons. 

Last  Words  of  Count  Leo  Tolstoi 

It  was  disclosed  to  the  observant  eye  of  Washington  Irving  that 
when  the  noble  elk  finds  himself  mortally  wounded,  he  leaves  his 
companions,  and  turning  aside,  seeks  some  out-of-the-way  place  to 
die ;  and  his  incomparable  pen  depicts  such  a  scene  in  his  "Tour  of 
the  Prairies,"  a  book  which  is  ever  a  delight  to  lovers  of  nature  and 
outdoor  life ;  and  so  when  death  was  about  to  overtake  him  did 
Tolstoi,  one  of  the  Masters  of  the  Old  World,  attempt  to  withdraw 
from  mankind  and  quietly  disappear,  dying  at  a  little  railway 
station  in  Russia. 

His  valuable  manuscripts  passed  by  his  last  will  to  his  daughter : 
by  another  testament,  written  at  the  Optina  Monastery  on  Novem- 
ber 11,  1910,  a  few  days  before  his  death,  he  left  an  address  en- 
titled "Effective  Means."     It  says: 

"I  am  naturally  anxious  to  do  all  I  can  against  evil,  which  tor- 
tures the  best  spirits  of  our  time. 

"I  think  the  present  effective  war  against  capital  punishment 
does  not  need  forcing ;  there  is  no  need  for  an  expression  of  indigna- 
tion against  its  immorality,  cruelty  and  absurdity ;  every  sincere, 
thinking  person,  everybody  knowing  from  youth  the  sixth  com- 
mandment, needs  no  explanation  of  its  absurdity  and  immorality ; 
there  is  no  need  for  descriptions  of  the  horrors  of  executions,  as 
they  only  affect  hangmen,  so  men  will  more  unwillingly  become 
executioners  and  governments  will  be  obliged  to  compensate  them 
more  dearly  for  their  services. 


224      ANCIENT,  CURIOUS,   AND  FAMOUS  WILLS 

Knowledge  Banishes  Delusions 

"Therefore,  I  think  that  neither  the  expression  of  indignation 
against  the  murder  of  our  fellow-men,  nor  the  suggestion  of  its 
horrors,  is  mainly  needed ;  but  something  totally  different. 

"As  Kant  well  says,  there  are  delusions  which  cannot  be  dis- 
proved, and  we  must  communicate  to  the  deluded  mind  knowledge 
which  will  enlighten,  and  then  the  delusions  will  vanish  by  them- 
selves. 

"What  knowledge  need  we  communicate  to  the  deluded  human 
mind  regarding  the  indispensableness,  usefulness  or  justice  of  capital 
punishment  in  order  that  said  delusion  may  destroy  itself. 

"Such  knowledge  in  my  opinion  is  this  :  The  knowledge  of  what 
is  man,  what  his  surrounding  world,  what  his  destiny;  hence, 
what  man  can  and  must  do,  and  principally  what  he  cannot  and 
must  not  do. 

"Therefore,  we  should  oppose  capital  punishment  by  inculcating 
this  knowledge  to  all  men,  especially  to  hangmen's  managers  and 
sympathizers  who  wrongfully  think  they  are  maintaining  their  posi- 
tion, thanks  only  to  capital  punishment. 

"I  know  this  is  not  an  easy  task.  The  employers  and  approvers 
of  hangmen,  with  the  instinct  of  self-preservation,  feel  that  this 
knowledge  will  make  impossible  the  maintenance  of  the  position 
which  they  occupy ;  hence  not  only  will  they  themselves  not  adopt 
it,  but  by  all  means  in  their  power,  by  violence,  deceit,  lies  and  cruelty, 
they  will  try  to  hide  from  the  people  this  knowledge,  distorting 
it  and  exposing  its  disseminators  to  all  kinds  of  privations  and 
suffering. 

"Therefore,  if  we  readily  wish  to  destroy  the  delusion  of  capital 
punishment,  and  if  we  possess  the  knowledge  which  destroys  this 
delusion,  let  us,  in  spite  of  all  menaces,  deprivations  and  sufferings, 
teach  the  people  this  knowledge,  because  it  is  solely  the  effective 
means  in  the  fight. 

"  Leo  Tolstoi. 

"Optina  Monastery,  November  11,  1910." 

"Remember  Crittenden" 

If  not  a  will,  the  last  writing  of  William  Logan  Crittenden  carried 
with  it  a  wealth  of  sentiment  and  affection  ;  he  was  a  member  of  the 
celebrated  Kentucky  family,  and  a  graduate  of  West  Point.  In 
the  year  1851,  he  joined  General  Narcisso  Lopez,  who  sought  vol- 


ANCIENT,  CURIOUS,  AND  FAMOUS  WILLS      225 

unteers  in  the  United  States  to  aid  in  the  struggle  then  going  on 
for  Cuban  independence.  The  expedition  had  intended  to  land  at 
some  remote  part  of  the  island  of  Cuba,  but  a  heavy  gale  drove  the 
vessel  to  a  small  port  barely  twenty  miles  from  the  city  of  Havana. 
Crittenden  and  his  party  were  captured :  cruelly  bound,  he  was 
taken  to  Havana  and  imprisoned  in  the  grim  Atares  Castle ;  on 
the  following  day,  he  and  his  companions  were  shot.  Shortly 
before  his  death,  he  was  permitted  to  pen  the  following  pathetic 
lines  to  a  friend:  "This  is  an  incoherent  letter,  but  the  circum- 
stances must  excuse  it.  My  hands  are  swollen  to  double  their 
natural  thickness,  resulting  from  having  been  too  tightly  corded 
during  the  last  eighteen  hours.  Write  John  (his  brother),  and  let 
him  write  to  my  mother.  I  am  afraid  that  the  news  will  break  her 
heart.  My  heart  beats  warmly  for  her  now.  Farewell.  My  love 
to  all  my  friends."  When  one  of  the  Kentucky  regiments  was  in 
action  during  the  Spanish-American  War,  their  battle-cry  was, 
"Remember  Crittenden."  At  Santiago,  Cuba,  there  is  placed  a 
commemorative  tablet,  which  serves  to  recall  another  ill-fated 
attempt  to  aid  in  a  Cuban  insurrection,  that  of  1873.  The  Vir- 
ginius,  a  steamer  carrying  the  American  flag,  was  captured  by  a 
Spanish  man-of-war,  the  officers,  crew  and  passengers  were  shot : 
the  tablet  reads:  "Thou  who  passest  this  place,  uncover  thyself. 
This  spot  is  consecrated  earth.  For  thirty  years  it  has  been 
blessed  with  the  blood  of  patriots  immolated  by  tyranny." 

Confucius 

History  does  not  record  that  the  great  Chinese  philosopher  and 
sage  made  a  testamentary  disposition  of  his  worldly  effects ;  but  we 
find  that  just  before  his  death  in  478  B.C.,  with  his  hands  behind  his 
back,  dragging  his  staff,  he  moved  about  his  door  reciting : 

"The  great  mountain  must  crumble, 
The  strong  beam  must  break. 
The  wise  man  must  wither  away  like  a  plant." 

The  grave  of  Confucius  is  in  Kung  Cemetery  near  the  city  of 
Kiuh-Fow:  a  magnificent  gate  opens  into  a  beautiful  avenue 
which  leads  to  his  tomb,  this  avenue  being  shaded  by  cypresses  and 
other  fine  old  trees  :  the  inscription  on  his  tomb  reads  : 

"The  most  sagely  ancient  Teacher, 
The  all-accomplished,  all-informed  King." 

The  great  temple  erected  here  in  his  honor  is  a  splendid  edifice. 


226      ANCIENT,   CURIOUS,  AND  FAMOUS  WILLS 

Confucius  enunciated  the  Golden  Rule  five  hundred  years  before 
Christ,  and  although  negatively  put,  it  is  to  all  intents  and  pur- 
poses the  same  as  given  by  the  Master : 

"What  ye  would  not,  that  others  should  do  unto  you,  do  ye 
not  unto  them." 

Undertaker  paid  in  Advance 

The  will  of  Elijah  Bell  was  probated  at  Columbus,  Ohio,  on 
October  5,  1910.  It  disposes  of  an  estate  of  twenty  thousand 
dollars  between  his  widow,  children  and  grandchildren.  In  a 
codicil,  he  states  that  no  changes  have  been  made  in  his  will,  and 
that  if  any  were  found  on  opening  that  document,  the  court  was  to 
declare  the  instrument  a  forgery. 

He  also  declared  that  he  had  paid  the  undertaker  for  his  burial, 
the  sum  of  one  hundred  and  ninety-eight  dollars ;  the  items  being, 
a  casket  one  hundred  and  forty  dollars,  a  vault  fifty  dollars,  and 
a  shroud  eight  dollars. 

Sings  at  his  Own  Funeral 

William  Faxon  died  recently  at  Ovid,  Michigan.  When  the 
mourners  had  gathered  at  the  Faxon  home,  in  which  lay  his  open 
coffin,  they  were  surprised  to  hear  his  voice  in  an  anthem  from 
behind  a  screen  of  flowers  and  palms. 

Sometime  before  his  death,  Faxon  conceived  the  idea  of  pre- 
serving his  own  voice  by  means  of  the  phonograph,  to  be  a  part 
of  the  service  when  he  died.  He  was  a  well-known  choir  singer, 
and  possessed  a  rich  tenor  voice. 

Heavenly  Securities 

An  inventory  recently  filed  in  the  County  Court  at  Nashville, 
Tennessee,  is  probably  the  most  unusual  instrument  of  its  kind 
ever  admitted  to  probate.  The  document  is  signed  by  Mrs.  Corra 
W.  Harris,  the  author  of  a  book  of  high  merit,  "A  Circuit  Rider's 
Wife";  her  husband,  the  Reverend  Lundy  H.  Harris,  is  reported 
to  have  died  by  his  own  hand;  he  is  said  to  have  been  the  real 
circuit  rider  of  the  story ;  his  wife  qualified  as  his  administratrix. 
The  inventory  given  below  is  embodied  in  a  letter  addressed  to 
the  Clerk  of  the  County  Court,  which  had  jurisdiction  of  the 
estate  of  the  deceased  minister;  it  is  a  pathetic  and  touching 
tribute  from  an  able  pen. 


ANCIENT,   CURIOUS,   AND  FAMOUS  WILLS      227 

"Mr.  W.  F.  Hunt,  City. 

"  Dear  Sir  : 

"  I  have  your  card  saying  that  if  I  do  not  furnish  you  an  Inven- 
tory of  the  estate  of  Lundy  H.  Harris,  of  which  I  was  appointed 
administratrix,  within  ten  days  from  receipt  of  this  notice,  you 
wUl  proceed  as  the  law  directs. 

"  I  did  not  know  it  was  my  duty  to  furnish  such  an  inventory 
and  now  you  demand  it  I  do  not  know  how  to  do  it.  If  the  one 
I  send  you  is  not  in  proper  form  to  be  recorded  upon  your  books, 
I  enclose  postage  and  request  you  to  let  me  know  wherein  I  have 
failed. 

"It  is  not  with  the  intention  of  showing  an  egregious  senti- 
mentality that  I  say  I  find  it  impossible  to  give  you  a  complete 
and  satisfactory  inventory  of  the  estate  of  Lundy  H.  Harris.  The 
part  that  I  give  is  so  small  that  it  is  insignificant  and  misleading. 

"At  the  time  of  his  death  he  had  $2.35  in  his  purse,  $116.00  in 
the  Union  Bank  &  Trust  Company  of  this  city,  about  four  hundred 
books,  and  the  coffin  in  which  he  was  buried,  which  cost  $85.00. 

"The  major  part  of  his  estate  was  invested  in  heavenly  securities, 
the  values  of  which  have  been  variously  declared  in  this  world, 
and  highly  taxed  by  the  various  churches,  but  never  realized.  He 
invested  every  year  not  less  (usually  more)  than  $1200.  in  charity, 
so  secretly,  so  inoffensively  and  so  honestly  that  he  was  never 
suspected  of  being  a  philanthropist,  and  never  praised  for  his 
generosity.  He  pensioned  an  old  outcast  woman  in  Barton 
County,  an  old  soldier  in  Nashville ;  he  sent  two  little  negro  boys 
to  school  and  supported  for  three  years  a  family  of  five  who  could 
not  support  themselves.  He  contributed  anonymously  to  every 
charity  in  Nashville,  every  old  maid  interested  in  a  'benevolent' 
object  received  his  aid,  every  child  he  knew  exacted  and  received 
penny  tolls  from  his  tenderness.  He  supported  the  heart  of  every 
man  who  confided  in  him  with  encouragement  and  affection.  He 
literally  did  forgive  his  enemies  and  suffered  martyrdom  on  Sept. 
18th,  1910,  after  enduring  three  years  of  persecution  without  com- 
plaint. He  considered  himself  one  of  the  Chief  of  Survivors  and 
was  ever  recognized  as  one  of  the  largest  bondholders  in  Heaven. 

"You  can  see  how  large  this  estate  was  and  how  difficult  it 
would  be  to  compute  its  value  so  as  to  furnish  you  the  inventory 
you  require  for  record  on  your  books.  I  have  given  you  faithfully 
such  items  as  have  come  within  my  knowledge. 

"  Sincerely  yours, 
"  Corra  W.  Harris,  Admx.'* 


228      ANCIENT,   CURIOUS,  AND  FAMOUS  WILLS 

An  Unusual  Condition 

On  April  15,  1910,  there  was  an  announcement  in  the  news- 
papers of  how  a  wealthy  and  well-known  lady  in  St.  Louis  died, 
leaving  her  entire  fortune  to  her  husband ;  the  remainder  to  their 
children ;  but  in  the  event  he  remarries,  the  estate  to  pass  im- 
mediately to  their  children.  This  is  the  second  instance  we  have 
known  of  such  a  provision  in  a  will.  A  learned  legal  writer  of 
San  Francisco  states  in  his  work  on  wills  that  he  had  never  met 
with  such  an  instance. 

Will  of  Earl  of  Pembroke 

The  will  of  William,  Earl  of  Pembroke,  written  July  27,  1469, 
among  other  clauses,  says :  "  .  .  .  And  wyfe  ye  remember  your 
promise  to  me  to  take  the  ordre  of  wydowhood  as  ye  may  be 
the  better  mastre  of  your  owne  to  performe  my  wylle.  ..."  And 
in  a  codicil  he  adds :  "...  I  will  that  Maud  my  daughter  be 
wedded  to  the  Lord  Henry  of  Richmond;  Ann  to  Lord  Powys; 
and  Jane  to  Edmund  Malafaul." 

To  PAY  National  Debts 

In  the  year  1784  there  was  probated  in  England,  the  last  will 
and  testament  of  one,  M.  Fortune  Ricard,  a  teacher  of  arith- 
metic. It  seems  that  in  his  eighth  year,  his  grandparent  had 
given  him  a  small  sum  of  money,  and  directed  him  to  add  the 
interest  to  the  principal  each  year,  and  at  his  death  to  employ 
the  result  in  good  works  for  the  repose  of  their  souls.  The  testa- 
tor was  in  his  seventy -first  year  at  the  time  of  his  death.  He 
divided  the  fund  into  five  parts.  At  the  end  of  one  hundred 
years,  one  part  was  to  be  given  for  the  best  theological  disserta- 
tion proving  the  lawfulness  of  putting  money  out  at  interest. 
At  the  end  of  two  hundred  years,  the  second  part  was  to  be  ex- 
pended for  prizes  for  distinguished,  virtuous  actions,  literature 
and  other  purposes.  At  the  end  of  three  hundred  years,  the 
third  part  was  to  be  used  in  establishing  five  hundred  patriotic 
Ijanks  in  France,  lending  money  without  interest.  At  the  end  of 
four  hundred  years,  the  fourth  part  was  to  be  expended  in  the 
building  of  a  hundred  towns  to  accommodate  the  people  of  France. 
At  the  end  of  five  hundred  years,  the  fifth  part  was  to  be  used 
in  paying  oft'  the  national  debts  of  England  and  France. 


ANCIENT,  CURIOUS,  AND  FAMOUS  WILLS      229 

The  will  concludes  with  a  hope  for  the  success  of  these  enter- 
prises, above  all,  that  his  example  would  enkindle  the  emulation 
of  patriots,  princes  and  public  bodies,  and  cause  them  to  give 
attention  to  this  new  and  most  powerful  and  invaluable  means  of 
serving  posterity. 

The  Nobel  Prizes 

Alfred  Bernard  Nobel,  a  Swedish  inventor  and  philanthropist, 
was  born  at  Stockholm  in  1833,  and  died  in  1896.  He  was  a 
student  of  the  distinguished  John  Ericsson :  he  was  educated  in 
St.  Petersburg,  and  studied  mechanical  engineering  in  the  United 
States :  he  was  granted  patents  by  the  United  States  on  nitro- 
glycerin and  dynamite :  his  patents  were  very  numerous,  there 
being  filed  in  Great  Britain  one  hundred  and  twenty-nine.  In 
1875,  he  controlled  fifteen  dynamite  factories  in  different  parts  of 
the  world.  He  is  best  known  by  his  will  in  which  he  founded  the 
Nobel  Prize  Fund  of  $9,200,000,  reduced  by  taxation  to  $8,400,000, 
the  interest  on  which  is  annually  divided  into  five  equal  parts, 
and  awarded  as  prizes  to  the  person  who  shall  have  made,  (1)  the 
most  important  invention  or  discovery  in  the  domain  of  physics, 
(2)  in  chemistry,  (3)  in  physiology  or  medicine,  (4)  who  shall  have 
produced  in  the  field  of  literature  the  most  distinguished  work 
of  an  idealistic  tendency,  and,  (5)  who  shall  have  most  or  best 
promoted  the  interest  of  universal  peace. 

The  first  four  prizes  are  awarded  by  the  academies  of  Sweden, 
and  the  fifth  by  the  Norwegian  Storthing  (Parliament).  The 
value  of  each  prize  is  about  $38,000 ;  the  right  to  make  nomi- 
nations is  bestowed  upon  members  of  corresponding  academies 
of  other  countries,  professors  holding  proper  chairs  in  Scandi- 
navian and  foreign  universities,  recipients  of  Nobel  prizes,  and 
other  persons  of  distinction.  The  plan  of  award  is  that  the 
prizes  shall  go  to  those  persons  who  shall  have  contributed  most 
materially  to  benefit  mankind  during  the  year  immediately  pre- 
ceding. The  stipulation  that  the  award  should  be  for  achieve- 
ments of  the  preceding  year  has  been,  to  a  large  extent,  disre- 
garded, and  in  many  instances  the  award  is  the  result  of  the  life 
work  of  the  recipient. 

Spiteful  Wills 

Mr.  Russell,  in  his  work,  "Seeing  and  Hearing,"  says: 
**  Wills  which,  by  rehearsing  and  revoking  previous  bequests, 
mortify  the  survivors  when  the  testator  is  no  longer  in  a  position 


230      ANCIENT,   CURIOUS,  AND  FAMOUS  WILLS 

to  do  so  viva  voce,  form  a  very  curious  branch  of  the  subject. 
Lord  Kew  was  a  very  wealthy  peer  of  strict  principles  and  pecul- 
iarly acrid  temper,  and,  having  no  wife  or  children  to  annoy,  he 
*took  it  out,'  as  the  saying  is,  on  his  brothers,  nephews,  and 
other  expectant  kinsfolk.  One  gem  from  his  collection  I  recall, 
in  some  such  words  as  these :  '  By  a  previous  will  I  had  left  fifty 
thousand  pounds  to  my  brother  John;  but,  as  he  has  sent  his 
son  to  Oxford  instead  of  Cambridge,  contrary  to  my  expressed 
wish,  I  reduce  the  legacy  to  five  hundred  pounds.'  May  the 
earth  lie  light  on  that  benevolent  old  despot !  " 

A  Jilted  Lover's  Will 

Dr.  Forbes  (Benignus)  Winslow,  though  of  New  England 
stock,  was  born  in  London.  He  studied  medicine  in  New  York 
and  afterward  at  the  Royal  College  of  Surgeons.  He  made  a 
specialty  of  the  treatment  of  insanity  after  locating  in  London, 
and  became  noted  as  an  alienist  and  was  at  one  time  President 
of  the  Medical  Society  of  London.  He  reports  the  following 
very  singular  will : 

"A  certain  individual,  who  having  been  crossed  in  love,  con- 
cluded to  end  an  unhappy  and  disappointing  life,  ordered  his 
body  to  be  boiled  down,  and  all  the  fat  to  be  extracted  therefrom 
to  be  used  in  making  a  candle,  which  was  to  be  presented  to  the 
object  of  his  affections,  together  with  a  letter  containing  his 
adieus  and  expressions  of  undying  love.  The  time  chosen  for  the 
delivery  of  the  candle  and  the  letter  was  at  night,  in  order  that 
the  lady  might  read  the  touching  lines  by  this  veritable  'Corpse 
Candle.'  "  The  will,  the  learned  Dr.  Winslow  tells  us,  was  literally 
carried  out. 

Will  of  Frederic  Gebhard 

Frederic  Gebhard,  once  the  favorite  of  the  stage  and  of  society, 
with  an  income  of  $100,000  a  year,  a  private  car,  and  blooded 
horses  and  dogs,  left  an  estate  valued  at  less  than  $10,000.  His 
will,  making  no  mention  of  his  widow,  was  filed  September  21st, 
1910,  in  the  Surrogate's  office  of  New  York. 

Gebhard  died  at  Garden  City  on  September  8th  last.  His  will 
provides  that  his  entire  estate  shall  be  given  to  his  sister,  Mrs. 
Mary  Isabel  Neilson,  who  is  the  mother-in-law  of  Reginald  Van- 
derbilt. 


ANCIENT,   CURIOUS,  AND  FAMOUS  WILLS      231 

The  will  is  dated  June  21,  1905,  some  time  prior  to  his  marriage 
to  his  last  wife,  formerly  Marie  Wilson,  one  of  the  original  Floro- 
dora  Sextette  girls.  They  were  wedded  early  in  1906,  but  were 
reported  to  have  separated.  Mrs.  Gebhard  returned  to  him  some 
time  before  he  died. 

Gebhard  attracted  public  attention  over  twenty  years  ago  as  an 
admirer  of  Lily  Langtry,  who  came  to  this  country  as  a  stage 
beauty.  Gebhard  accompanied  her  about  the  country,  and  pur- 
chased a  ranch  adjoining  her  ranch  in  California.  Later  she  re- 
turned to  England  to  become  Mrs.  Hugo  de  Bathe,  and  Gebhard 
wedded  Lulu  Morris.  She  divorced  him,  and  became  Mrs.  Henry 
Clews,  Jr. 

In  Colonial  Days 

The  will  of  William  Farrar  of  colonial  times,  related  to  many 
St.  Louisans,  was  probated  in  1677  in  Henrico  County,  Virginia. 
This  document  and  the  inventory  portray  the  customs  of  those 
days.  There  passed  under  this  will,  "one  Indian  boy  named 
Will,  and  another  named  Jack"  ;  there  is  a  recital  that  the  "Hoggs 
being  out  and  uncertain,  and  one  young  mare,  are  left  undivided." 
The  valuations  are  in  tobacco,  the  Indian  boys  being  worth  2800 
pounds  each.  This  is  rather  a  novel  association  of  the  Indian 
with  tobacco. 

Five  Drawers  to  be  Opened 

A  few  years  ago,  there  died  a  wealthy  English  gentleman  who 
directed  that  the  five  drawers  in  his  desk  be  opened  on  the  five 
consecutive  anniversaries  of  his  death.  That  was  all ;  not  a  word 
about  the  disposition  of  his  large  fortune.  When  the  fourth 
drawer  was  reached,  a  sealed  letter  contained  this  message  :  "Have 
faith  and  hope,  and  you  will  attain  unto  the  fruition  of  all  your 
desires."  When  on  the  fifth  anniversary  the  last  drawer  was 
opened,  a  properly  executed  will  was  found,  leaving  the  property 
to  those  who  had  expected  it. 

Anticipating  Marriage 

There  is  a  strong  tendency  on  the  part  of  men  to  draw  up  their 
wills  in  favor  of  the  ladies  to  whom  they  are  affianced.  By  thus 
anticipating  what  they  would  probably  do  after  marriage,  they 
not  only  take  duty  by  the  forelock,  so  to  speak,  but  reap  a  present 
reward  in  the  increased  ardor  of  the  adored  ones. 


232      ANCIENT,  CURIOUS,  AND  FAMOUS  WILLS 

Difficult  Task  for  the  Judge 

The  will  of  Mrs.  Sophia  Striewe,  of  St.  Louis,  was  filed  in  the 
Probate  Court  in  November,  1910.  Six-fourteenths  of  the  residu- 
ary part  of  her  estate,  amounting  to  seven  thousand  dollars,  it 
was  directed  should  go  the  one  who  did  the  most  for  her  during 
her  last  days.  The  Probate  Judge  will  probably  decline  to  pass  on 
so  delicate  a  matter. 

Dental  Safeguards 

Quite  recently,  a  Boston  philanthropist  provided  a  fund  by 
means  of  which  the  school  children  of  that  city  were  insured  the 
proper  care  of  their  teeth.  Dental  statistics  show  that  this  act 
must  be  considered  as  far  more  worthy  than  any  gift  of  a  Uke 
nature  in  the  field  of  philanthropy  for  many  years ;  it  cannot  be 
doubted  that  the  state  of  the  health  depends  to  a  very  large 
degree  on  the  condition  of  the  teeth,  and  actual  figures  show  that 
only  one  child  in  thirty-five  has  sound  teeth,  and  much  of  the 
sickness  of  the  country  can  be  thus  accounted  for  in  this  impair- 
ment of  one  of  nature's  equipments. 

What  Commodore  Vanderbilt  said 

When  Commodore  Vanderbilt  was  on  his  death-bed,  he  was 
visited  by  his  nephew,  Samuel  Barton.  "Sammy,"  he  said, 
"I've  been  thinking  all  day  about  Alexander  Stewart's  will.  I 
can't  explain  it.  I  can't  understand  how  the  greatest  merchant 
in  this  country,  who  began  with  nothing  and  made  a  fortune  of 
millions,  who  was  always  clear-headed  in  business  matters  —  how 
was  it  possible  for  a  man  of  that  kind  to  make  such  an  utter  damn 
fool  of  himself  when  he  came  to  write  his  will  ?  " 

"  One  Clover  Blossom  " 

A  poetic  nature  and  a  love  for  clover  blossoms  are  at  once 
shown  by  a  Michigan  testator  who  devised  land  to  his  native 
village  for  park  purposes ;  the  only  rental  being  "  one  clover 
blossom  per  annum,"  which  is  to  be  picked  on  the  premises  and 
delivered  to  his  heirs  or  descendants.  No  provision  seems  to 
have  been  made  for  substitute  rental  in  the  event  of  a  failure  of 
the  clover  crop. 


ANCIENT,   CURIOUS,  AND  FAMOUS  WILLS     233 

"One  Red  Rose  in  the  Month   of  June'* 

Baron  Heinrich  Wilhelm  Stiegel  was  born  in  Germany  near 
Manheim,  Baden,  of  a  noble  and  wealthy  family,  in  1730.  Before 
he  was  twenty  years  of  age,  he  ventured  into  the  New  World 
with  a  fortune  of  $200,000 :  he  located  in  Lancaster  County, 
Pennsylvania,  after  having  built  a  home  in  Philadelphia.  He 
was  a  man  of  great  note,  establishing  iron  and  glass  works  and 
other  industries,  and  built  an  elegant  mansion  at  Manheim,  in 
Lancaster  County ;  the  old  Lutheran  Church  in  Manheim,  built 
in  1770,  was  located  on  ground  now  occupied  by  a  modern  church 
of  the  same  denomination,  built  in  1891.  Stiegel,  by  will  or  an 
instrument  of  kindred  nature,  gave  the  lot  on  which  the  church 
stands,  for  a  consideration  of  five  shillings  and  "the  annual  rental 
of  one  red  rose  in  the  month  of  June  forever."  The  payment  of 
the  rose  occurs  on  the  first  Sunday  in  June,  and  is  an  annual 
ceremony  of  great  interest ;  the  church  ofiicers  bear  the  rose  to 
the  altar  on  a  costly  tray,  and  a  descendant  of  the  testator  comes 
forward  at  the  request  of  the  minister  to  receive  it.  An  extended 
account  of  Stiegel  appears  in  the  proceedings  of  the  Lancaster 
County  Historical  Association  for  September  4th,  1896. 

Desired  Burial  on  Mountains 

Robert  Louis  Stevenson,  in  his  directions  for  his  burial,  selected 
the  apex  of  a  mountain  in  the  Samoan  Islands ;  it  was  necessary 
to  employ  a  great  many  natives  to  clear  the  way  to  the  mountain 
top.  There,  in  the  midst  of  singing  birds,  the  blooming  of  flowers, 
and  the  tonic  of  the  sea  breeze,  one  may  read  his  epitaph,  written 
by  himself,  but  for  another : 

"Under  the  wide  and  starry  sky. 
Dig  my  grave  and  let  me  lie. 
Glad  did  I  live  and  gladly  die. 
And  I  laid  me  down  with  a  will. 

"This  be  the  verse  you  grave  for  me. 
Here  he  lies  where  he  longed  to  be, 
Home  is  the  sailor,  home  from  the  sea. 
And  the  hunter  home  from  the  hill." 


Cecil  John  Rhodes  admired  the  grandeur  of  the  Matoppo  Hills 
in  Rhodesia,  and  directed  in  his  will  that  he  be  buried  there  in 


234      ANCIENT,   CURIOUS,  AND  FAMOUS  WILLS 

a  square  to  be  cut  out  of  the  rock  on  the  top  of  a  hill  at  a  point 
which  commanded  a  magnificent  view  of  the  surrounding  country. 


Helen  Hunt  Jackson,  the  authoress,  was  buried  at  her  direction, 
on  Cheyenne  Mountain,  near  the  top  of  Seven  Falls,  a  short  dis- 
tance from  Colorado  Springs,  Colorado ;  she  desired  this  for  her 
last  resting  place,  on  account  of  her  love  for  the  surroundings, 
which  are  of  rare  beauty,  and  which  no  doubt  gave  her  inspira- 
tion for  her  literary  productions. 


Thomas  Jefferson,  his  wife  and  two  daughters  are  buried  near 
the  crest  of  Monticello,  "Little  Mountain." 

Monticello,  the  home  of  Jefferson,  is  beautifully  situated,  and 
commands  a  view  of  the  town  of  Charlottesville,  the  University 
of  Virginia,  and  the  neighboring  country.  It  has  long  been  known 
as  one  of  the  most  picturesque  spots  in  the  South.  For  many 
years,  a  monument  bearing  the  following  inscription  from  his  own 
pen  marked  Jefferson's  grave : 

HERE   WAS  BURIED 

THOMAS  JEFFERSON 

AUTHOR 

OF  THE  DECLARATION  OF 

AMERICAN  INDEPENDENCE 

OF 

THE  STATUTE  OF  VIRGINIA 

FOR  RELIGIOUS  FREEDOM,  AND 

FATHER  OF  THE  UNIVERSITY 

OF  VIRGINIA 

BORN  APRIL  2D 

1743  O.S. 

DIED   [JULY  4] 

[1826] 

The  old  monument  was  removed  about  fifteen  years  ago,  and 
now  stands  on  the  campus  of  the  University  of  Missouri,  at 
Columbia,  Missouri,  and  a  more  imposing  one  was  erected  in  its 
place. 


ANCIENT,   CURIOUS,  AND  FAMOUS  WILLS      235 


No  Trips  to  Europe 

Mr.  Jefferson  G.  James,  an  old  and  prominent  citizen  of  San 
Francisco,  died  in  May,  1910 ;  he  was  a  pioneer  cattle  dealer  and 
politician ;  he  left  a  large  estate  to  be  disposed  of  under  his  will, 
which  was  written  with  his  own  hand  and  is  an  eccentric  docu- 
ment. One  provision  in  the  nature  of  advice  to  the  distributees 
reads  as  follows : 

"Don't  be  mean.  Don't  pay  my  employes  more  than  is  being 
paid  them  now.  No  outside  speculations.  No  expensive  trips 
to  Eiu-ope.  Spend  your  money  in  this  country.  Buy  or  build 
nice  residences  and  live  and  enjoy  yourselves  among  people  you 
know.  The  dividends  to  the  small  stockholders  will  assist  in  the 
support  of  a  family." 

In  a  codicil,  he  recurs  to  the  subject  of  European  travel,  which 
seems  to  have  been  a  pet  aversion;  he  again  says,  "No  trips  to 
Europe." 

Rights  of  an  Uxoricide  Denied 

An  appeal  from  a  decision  of  Vice-Chancellor  Malins,  of  Lon- 
<ion,  questioning  the  rights  of  M.  de  Tourville  to  inherit  under 
his  wife's  will,  was  decided  against  him. 

M.  de  Tourville  was  found  guilty  of  murdering  his  wife  by 
flinging  her  down  a  precipice  while  travelling  with  her  near 
Botzen,  Austria,  in  July,  1876.  The  marriage  took  place  in 
November,  1875,  and  the  lady  was  a  widow  possessed  of  large 
property.  The  day  after  the  marriage  she  made  a  will,  leaving 
her  property  to  trustees  for  the  benefit  of  her  children,  should 
there  be  any,  but  in  default  of  such,  she  gave  the  whole  to  her 
husband,  the  husband  being  cognizant  of  this  arrangement,  and 
thereby,  as  alleged  by  the  wife's  relations,  instigated  to  commit 
the  crime  of  which  he  was  subsequently  convicted  and  sentenced 
to  death  by  the  Austrian  courts.  Having  appealed,  however,  his 
sentence  was  commuted  to  imprisonment  for  eighteen  years. 

Under  these  circumstances,  the  wife's  relations  claimed  a 
declaration  that  De  Tourville  was  incapable  of  taking  any  interest 
under  his  wife's  will,  and  argued  that  the  property  belonged  to 
Madame  de  Tourville's  next  of  kin. 

The  Vice-Chancellor  refused  the  application  for  a  commis- 
sion, on  the  ground  that  the  question  of  law  should  first  be  deter- 
mined whether,   in  his  position,   De  Tourville   should  lose  the 


236      ANCIENT,   CURIOUS,  AND   FAMOUS  WILLS 

benefits  conferred  on  him  by  the  will,  and  directed  an  amend- 
ment of  the  pleadings  for  that  purpose. 

The  case  was  further  complicated  by  the  fact  that,  previous  to 
his  conviction,  De  Tourville  had  (not  perhaps  so  cleverly  as  he 
thought)  assigned  his  interest  under  the  will  to  another  person. 

The  Master  of  the  Rolls  and  Lords  Justices  James  and  Bram- 
well,  however,  reversed  the  decision  of  the  Vice-Chancellor,  and 
granted  the  application  for  a  commission,  the  Master  of  the  Rolls 
remarking  that  he  was  at  a  loss  to  understand  why  the  applica- 
tion should  have  been  refused. 

He  answered  the  Questions 

About  the  year  1875,  "Scotch"  John  Wilson,  a  native  of  Scot- 
land, then  living  near  Tecumseh,  Nebraska,  drove  from  his  home 
his  son,  John  Wilson,  and  told  him  never  to  darken  the  doors 
again.  The  son  had  graduated  from  an  Iowa  law  school  and 
wanted  to  practise  law ;  the  father  wanted  the  son  to  stay  on 
the  farm ;  they  disagreed  and  this  resulted  in  the  son's  being 
driven  from  home.  He  rode  away  on  a  circus  train  and  never 
saw  his  parents  again. 

A  few  years  ago,  the  elder  Wilson  died,  leaving  an  estate  valued 
at  thirty  thousand  dollars.  By  his  will,  he  directed  that  this 
estate  be  turned  over  to  any  claimant  who  might  appear  and  say 
he  was  the  missing  son,  and  who  could  answer  thirty  questions. 
These  thirty  questions  dealt  largely  with  family  history,  dates, 
and  other  matters  which  were  peculiarly  within  the  knowledge  of 
the  son. 

The  son  appeared,  after  an  absence  of  thirty-five  years,  and 
answering  satisfactorily  the  thirty  questions  before  the  Probate 
Court,  was  awarded  the  estate.  After  the  decision  in  his  favor, 
he  began  crying  and  remarked,  "I  would  have  preferred  to  have 
seen  my  mother  rather  than  to  take  this  money." 

From  under  the  Sea 

On  April  15th,  1910,  while  manoeuvering  off  Kura  in  Hiroshima 
Bay,  Submarine  No.  6  of  the  Royal  Japanese  Navy  was  sunk : 
her  commander.  Lieutenant  Saguma,  and  fourteen  men  were  lost. 
When  the  vessel  was  raised  two  days  after  the  catastrophe,  a 
document  written  by  him  was  discovered ;  it  is  a  remarkable 
instrument  and  may  be  regarded  as  a  testamentary  log.     This 


ANCIENT,   CURIOUS,  AND  FAMOUS  WILLS      237 

paper,  written  when  the  commander  was  slowly  choking  to  death 
from  the  gases  generated  as  the  submarine  lay  helpless  at  the 
bottom  of  the  sea,  is  a  striking  instance  of  the  spirit  of  silent 
sacrifice  and  immolation  found  in  the  Japanese  character.  It 
reads  as  follows : 

"I  have  no  excuse  or  apology  for  having  sunk  His  Majesty's 
No.  6  submarine  by  my  carelessness,  but  the  crew  of  the  boat 
bravely  and  calmly  discharged  their  duties.  We  now  die  for  the 
sake  of  our  country,  but  we  regret  that  the  future  development 
of  submarines  will  receive  a  heavy  blow  as  the  result  of  this  dis- 
aster. It  is,  therefore,  my  hope  that  you  will  engage  in  deeper 
study  of  the  submarine  without  any  misapprehension  of  disasters. 
If  you  do  this,  we  shall  feel  no  regret  at  our  deaths.  We  were 
making  a  gasoline  dive  when  the  submarine  sank  lower  than  was 
intended,  and  we  tried  to  close  the  sluice  valve,  when  the  chain 
unfortunately  snapped.  I  therefore  closed  the  valve  with  my 
own  hands,  but  it  was  too  late  to  avert  disaster,  and  the  boat 
sank  with  a  list  of  25  degrees.  The  boat  sank  at  10  a.m.,  and  it 
is  now  11.45  a.m.  The  depth  of  the  water  is  about  ten  fathoms. 
I  always  expect  death  when  away  from  home.  My  will  is  there- 
fore prepared  and  in  the  locker,  and  I  hope  Mr.  Taguchi  will  send 
it  with  this  paper  to  my  father." 

There  were  numerous  other  requests,  one  to  the  Emperor,  an 
earnest  appeal  to  supply  the  means  of  livelihood  to  the  poor 
famihes  of  the  crew. 


Written  by  Entombed  Miners 

In  November,  1909,  over  three  hundred  miners  were  entombed 
for  a  period  of  ten  days  in  a  mine  at  Cherry,  near  Spring  Valley, 
Illinois.  The  living  were  imprisoned  with  the  dead.  At  the  end 
of  ten  days,  twenty- two  miners  were  rescued ;  those  saved  had 
kept  themselves  free  from  fatal  gas  by  building  a  barricade. 
Saved  from  death  by  suffocation,  they  were  threatened  with 
death  by  thirst.  Two  of  these  men,  self-constituted  leaders, 
gave  orders  for  the  protection  of  the  community ;  they  con- 
ducted religious  services  and  cared  for  the  sick  and  exhausted, 
and  their  directions  were  strictly  carried  out. 

Two  of  the  miners  wrote  wills  while  so  imprisoned ;  they  are 
pathetic  documents.  The  writer  of  the  following  will,  Joe  Pegati, 
was  rescued : 


238      ANCIENT,   CURIOUS,  AND  FAMOUS  WILLS 

"This  is  the  4th  day  that  we  have  been  down  here.  That's 
what  I  think,  but  our  watches  stopped.  I  am  writing  this  in  the 
dark  because  we  have  been  eating  the  wax  from  our  safety  lamps. 
I  also  have  eaten  a  plug  of  tobacco,  some  bark  and  some  of  my 
shoe.  I  could  only  chew  it.  I  hope  you  can  read  this.  I  am  not 
afraid  to  die.     O  Holy  Virgin,  have  mercy  on  me. 

"I  think  my  time  has  come.  You  know  what  my  property  is. 
We  worked  for  it  together  and  it  is  all  yours.  This  is  my  will, 
and  you  must  keep  it.  You  have  been  a  good  wife.  May  the 
Holy  Virgin  guard  you.  I  hope  this  reaches  you  some  time,  and 
you  can  read  it.  It  has  been  very  quiet  down  here  and  I  wonder 
what  has  become  of  our  comrades. 

"Good-by  until  heaven  shall  bring  us  together. 

"Joe  Pegati." 

The  writer  of  the  second  will,  Samuel  D.  Howard,  aged  twenty- 
one,  died  in  the  mine ;   his  will  in  part  is  in  these  words : 

"Alive  at  10.30  o'clock  yet.  Sam  D.  Howard  and  Brother 
Alfred  is  with  me  yet.  A  good  many  dead  mules  and  men.  I 
tried  to  save  some,  but  came  almost  losing  myself.  If  I  am 
dead  give  my  diamond  ring  to  Mamie  Robinson.  The  ring  is 
coming  to  the  Post  Office.  Henry  can  have  the  ring  I  have  in 
my  good  clothes.  The  only  thing  I  regret  is  that  my  brother 
could  not  help  mother  after  I  am  dead  and  gone. 


"To  keep  me  from  thinking  I  thought  I  would  write  these  few 
lines.  There  is  rock  falling  all  over.  We  have  our  buckets  full 
of  water,  seep  water,  and  we  drink  it  and  bathe  our  heads  in  it. 


"Seven  fifty  o'clock  in  the  morning.  This  is  Sunday.  There 
is  no  air.  We  have  fanned  ourselves  with  the  lids  of  our  buckets. 
Twenty  five  after  9  and  black  damp  coming  both  ways.  Twenty 
five  after  10  we  gave  up  all  hope.  We  have  done  all  we  could. 
The  fan  had  better  start  above  soon.  Twenty  five  after  10  a.m.. 
Sunday.     We  are  still  alive,  the  only  hope  is  the  fan. 

"I  think  I  won't  have  strength  to  write  pretty  soon.  Fifteen 
after  12  o'clock  Sunday.  If  they  can't  give  us  air,  we  will  make 
fans  ourselves.  We  take  turns  at  the  fan.  We  have  three  of 
them  going.  Twenty  seven  to  3  p.m.  and  the  black  damp  is  com- 
ing in  on  us. 


ANCIENT,   CURIOUS,  AND  FAMOUS  WILLS      239 

"Only  for  the  fans  we  would  be  dead.  Eleven  to  4  p.m.  dying 
for  want  of  air.  We  have  six  fans  moving.  One  after  another 
fifteen  feet  apart.  We  all  had  to  come  back.  We  can't  move 
front  or  backward.  We  can  stand  it  with  our  fans  until  Monday 
morning. 

"Fifteen  after  2  a.m.  Monday.  Am  still  alive.  We  are  cold, 
hungry,  weak,  sick  and  everything  else.  Alfred  Howard  is  still 
alive.     9.15  a.m. 

"Monday  morning,  still  breathing.  Something  better  must 
turn  up  or  we  will  soon  be  gone.  Eleven  fifteen  a.m.  still  alive 
at  this  time.  Sixteen  to  1  p.m.  Monday,  we  are  still  getting  weak, 
Alfred  Howard  as  well  as  the  rest  of  us." 

The  Town  Crier 

Doctor  Roland  Williams  was  an  author  of  considerable  distinc- 
tion ;  he  was,  at  one  time,  professor  in  the  College  of  St.  David's, 
Lampeter,  South  Wales,  but  had  diflBculty  with  the  faculty  of 
that  institution.  He  exiled  himself  to  a  neighboring  town,  where 
he  died,  leaving  in  his  will  fifty  pounds  to  the  town  of  Lampeter, 
one-third  of  the  income  of  which  is  perpetually  to  be  given  to 
the  town  crier,  "for  making  proclamation  once  a  year,  about 
midsummer,  on  a  market  day,  that  he,  Roland  Williams,  never 
consented  to  the  election  of  George  Lewellin  to  a  scholarship  in 
this  college,  but  in  this  and  other  things  he  was  foully  slandered 
by  men  in  high  places ;  because  he  loved  righteousness  and  hated 
iniquity;  therefore,  he  died  in  exile;  but  while  unjust  men  per- 
mitted this,  he  both  kept  the  needy  student  by  his  right,  and 
defended  the  alms  of  the  altar  of  God." 

Curll's  Collection  of  Wills 

A  very  curious  and  now  rare  collection  of  wills  was  made  about 
1720,  by  Edmund  Curll,  who,  according  to  Pope  and  Swift,  pos- 
sessed himself  surreptitiously  of  these  as  well  as  of  many  anec- 
dotes of  the  private  lives  of  some  of  his  contemporary  celebrities, 
and  published  them  anonymously,  garbling  and  altering  in  a 
scurrilous  manner  many  of  the  facts  he  had  obtained,  so  that 
Arbuthnot  observed  to  Swift  that  "Curll  was  one  of  the  new 
terrors  of  death ;"  and  the  author  of  "The  Man  of  Taste"  wrote : 

"  Long  live  old  Curll !  he  ne'er  to  publish  fears. 
The  verses,  speeches,  and  last  wills  of  Peers." 


240      ANCIENT,   CURIOUS,   AND  FAMOUS  WILLS 

Besides  the  memoirs  and  will  of  "Alderman  John  Barber,"  of 
"Peter  Le  Neve,  Esq.,  Norroy  King-at-Arms,"  and  that  of  "An- 
thony Collins,  Esq.,"  he  issued  thirty-one  pamphlets  containing 
the  "Life,  Correspondence,  and  last  Will  and  Testament"  of  each 
of  the  following  worthies.  The  list  of  them  is  to  be  found  on  the 
last  leaf  of  the  said  life  of  Alderman  Barber,  and  is  as  follows : 

"  1.  Archbishop  Tillotson.  18.  Dr.  Radcliffe. 

2.  Bishop  Atterbury  (Dean  of       19.  Dr.  Williams. 

Ch.  Ch.).  20.  Dr.  South  (2  vols.,  with  his 

3.  Bishop  Barnes.  posthumous  works). 

4.  Bishop  Curll.  21.  Dr.  Hickes. 

5.  Earl  of  Halifax.  22.  Dr.  Burnet  (of  the  Charter- 

6.  Lord  Carpenter.  house). 

7.  Lord  Chancellor  Talbot.  23.   Mr.     W.     Partridge     (the 

8.  Lord  Chancellor  Pengelly.  Astrologer). 

9.  Judge  Price.  24.  Mr.  Mahomet  (Servant  to 

10.  Rev.  Mr.  George  Kelly.  his  late  Majesty). 

11.  Mr.  Wright  of  Newington.  25.  Mr.  John  Guy. 

12.  Wm.  Congreve,  Esq.  26.  Mr.  Wills  (the  Comedian). 

13.  Mr.  Addison.  27.  Elias  Ashmore,  Esq. 

14.  Mr.  Prior.  28.  Arthur  Maynwaring,  Esq. 

15.  Mr.  Locke  (with  his  letters  29.  Walter  Moule,  Esq. 

and  memoirs).  30.  Wm.  King,  LL.D. 

16.  Matthew  Tindall,  LL.D.  31.  Mr.  Manley  (Author  of  the 

17.  Mr.  Nelson.  'Atlantis')." 

Indeed,  Curll  seems  to  have  had  an  itching  hand  for  seizing  on 
everybody's  will;  for,  among  other  of  the  singular  productions 
he  put  before  the  public,  is  a  satirical  work  called  "Pylades  and 
Corinna :  Memoirs  of  the  Lives,  Letters,  and  Adventures  of  two 
Lovers,  Richard  Grinnett,  Esq.,  of  Great  Shurdington  in  Glouces- 
tershire, and  Mrs.  EUzabeth  Thomas  Jenner  of  Great  Russell 
Street,  Bloomsbury,  together  with  all  the  Incidents  of  their  Six- 
teen Years'  Courtship,  and  two  complete  Copies  of  their  last 
Wills  and  Testaments ;"  and  yet  more  extraordinary,  he  invented 
a  will  for  the  Evil  One,  which  he  styled  :  "Satan  turned  Moralist; 
or.  The  Devil's  last  Will  and  Testament.  Price  Is."  A  copy  of 
this  rare  book,  worthless  though  it  may  be  as  far  as  it  might 
afford  entertainment  to  any  reader  of  the  present  day,  would, 
we  fancy,  command  a  good  many  shillings  now. 

Of  these,  fifteen  are  still  extant,  and  in  the  library  of  the  British 
Museum,  viz. :  those  numbered,  in  our  list  of  Curll's  publications, 
respectively  2,  4,  9,  10,  12,  13,  14,  15,  18,  21,  22,  23,  25,  26,  29; 
but  it  is  no  easy  task  to  find  them,  even  in  the  Catalogue. 


ANCIENT,  CURIOUS,  AND  FAMOUS  WILLS      241 

A  Weird  Custom 

In  one  of  Balzac's  best  novels,  "The  Country  Doctor,"  he 
tells  of  a  strange  custom  which  prevails  in  some  of  the  moun- 
tainous districts  of  France.  It  will  be  recalled  that  the  Country- 
Doctor  leaves  Paris  and  takes  up  his  abode  in  a  remote  country 
district,  the  purpose  being  to  make  amends  for  a  life  which  at 
the  outset  had  not  been  blameless  and  had  brought  about  remorse 
and  contrition.  He  devotes  a  long  and  useful  life  to  the  unso- 
phisticated country  people  among  whom  he  locates. 

The  custom  referred  to  is  that  upon  the  death  of  a  husband  the 
neighbors  surround  the  bier  and  at  intervals  wail,  "The  master 
is  gone!  The  master  is  gone!  The  master  is  gone!"  The 
widow  with  her  own  hands  cuts  off  her  hair  and  places  it  in  the 
hands  of  the  corpse,  as  an  evidence  of  devotion  and  constancy. 

To  THE  Devil 

There  is  perhaps  no  sentiment,  grateful  or  spiteful,  or  any  phase 
of  humor,  good  or  bad,  which  has  not  been  illustrated  in  testamen- 
tary documents. 

Probably  the  legatee  who  stood  the  least  chance  of  realizing  was 
the  Devil ;  an  attempt  was  made  to  make  him  a  land  owner  in  Fin- 
land :  a  few  years  ago,  a  queer  old  native  of  that  country  devised 
all  his  property  to  the  Devil  without  attempting  to  establish  the 
identity  of  the  devisee.  The  Devil's  claim  was  disregarded  and  the 
property  went  to  the  heirs  of  the  testator.  It  was  suggested  by  one 
writer  that  doubtless  the  testator  desired  to  make  a  good  impression 
on  his  Satanic  Majesty  with  a  view  to  conciliating  him ;  another 
writer  suggests  that  even  the  name  of  the  Devil  in  a  will  is  better 
than  none,  such  omissions  being  frequently  found  in  wills. 

Devise  to  an  Idol 

Within  recent  years,  the  Judiciary  Committee  of  the  Privy  Coun- 
cil of  Great  Britain  was  called  upon  to  pass  on  the  validity  of  a  testa- 
mentary devise  made  four  hundred  years  prior  to  that  time  by  a 
resident  of  India,  conveying  by  will  certain  lands  to  the  use  of  an 
idol,  and,  strange  to  say,  this  gift  was  sustained. 

Mr.  Justice  Riddell,  of  the  Supreme  Court  of  Canada,  recently 
called  attention  to  this  remarkable  devise,  in  an  address  before  the 
State  Bar  Association  of  Missouri. 


242      ANCIENT,   CURIOUS,  AND  FAMOUS  WILLS 

It  appears  that  one  of  the  descendants  of  the  original  testator,, 
after  the  lapse  of  four  centuries,  by  a  subsequent  will,  attempted  to 
devise  the  same  property  which  was  formerly  conveyed  to  the  use  of 
the  idol.  The  Privy  Council  upheld  the  original  gift,  and  the  lands 
are  still  devoted  to  the  use  of  the  idol. 

The  Lost  Dauphin 

It  is  said  the  Duchesse  d'Angouleme,  sister  of  the  "Lost  Dau- 
phin," was  a  cold-hearted  woman  who  preferred  the  prospect  of  a 
throne  to  the  calls  of  family  affection.  She  died  childless  and  in 
exile  at  Prague  in  1845. 

There  is  a  story  that  on  her  deathbed  she  called  to  her  side 
General  la  Rochejacquelein  and  whispered  : 

"  General,  I  have  a  fact,  a  very  solemn  fact,  to  reveal  to  you. 
It  is  the  testament  of  a  dying  woman.  My  brother  is  not  dead ; 
it  has  been  the  nightmare  of  my  life.  Promise  me  to  take  the  neces- 
sary steps  to  trace  him.  France  will  not  be  happy  nor  at  peace 
till  he  is  on  the  throne  of  his  fathers." 

The  story  is  probably  apocryphal ;  if  true,  it  is  a  pity  that  the 
dying  duchess  left  no  documentary  proof  of  her  belief,  even  though 
it  involved  the  awful  confession  that  it  was  her  selfishness  that  had 
cheated  her  brother  out  of  a  throne  and  rendered  him  a  nameless 
outcast. 

George  Sand's  Curiosity 

George  Sand  married  in  early  life  a  coarse  type  of  man,  Casimir 
Dudevant.  Their  union  was  not  a  happy  one.  It  happened  that 
she  found  a  packet  in  her  husband's  desk,  marked,  "Not  to  be 
opened  until  after  my  death."  She  wrote  of  this  in  her  corre- 
spondence : 

"I  had  not  the  patience  to  wait  till  widowhood.  No  one 
can  be  sure  of  surviving  anybody.  I  assumed  that  my  husband 
had  died,  and  I  was  very  glad  to  learn  what  he  thought  of  me  while 
he  was  alive.  Since  the  package  was  addressed  to  me,  it  was  not 
dishonorable  for  me  to  open  it." 

And  so  she  opened  it.  It  proved  to  be  his  will,  but  containing,  as 
a  preamble,  his  curses  on  her,  expressions  of  contempt,  and  all  the 
vulgar  outpouring  of  an  evil  temper  and  angry  passion.  At  once 
she  formed  the  great  decision  of  her  life. 

She  went  to  her  husband  as  he  was  opening  a  bottle,  and  flung 
the  document  upon  the  table.     He  cowered  at  her  glance,  at  her 


ANCIENT,   CURIOUS,  AND  FAMOUS  WILLS      243 

firmness,  and  at  her  cold  hatred.  He  grumbled  and  argued  and 
entreated ;  but  all  that  his  wife  would  say  in  answer  was  : 

"I  must  have  an  allowance.  I  am  going  to  Paris,  and  my  chil- 
dren are  to  remain  here  at  Nohant." 

She  went  into  the  Latin  Quarter,  and  not  only  Paris  but  the 
world  heard  much  of  her.  She  wrote,  "The  proprieties  are  the 
guiding  principle  of  people  without  soul  or  virtue,"  and,  as  is  well 
known,  her  life  was  in  accord  with  this  sentiment. 

Charles  Dickens  on  Elderly  Testators 

When  Dickens  came  to  America  in  1842,  he  visited  the  chari- 
table institutions  of  Boston,  Massachusetts,  and  of  them  wrote  in 
his  "American  Notes":  "I  sincerely  believe  that  the  Public 
Institutions  and  Charities  of  Boston  are  as  nearly  perfect,  as  the 
most  considerate  wisdom,  benevolence,  and  humanity  can  make 
them.  I  never  in  my  life  was  more  affected  by  the  contemplation  of 
happiness,  under  circumstances  of  privation  and  bereavements, 
than  in  my  visits  to  these  establishments." 

In  this  connection  he  writes  of  the  creation  of  such  institutions 
through  wills : 

"The  maxim  that  '  out  of  evil  cometh  good,'  is  strongly  illus- 
trated by  these  establishments  at  home ;  as  the  records  of  the  Pre- 
rogative Office  in  Doctors'  Commons  can  abundantly  prove. 
Some  immensely  rich  old  gentleman  or  lady,  surrounded  by  needy 
relatives,  makes,  upon  a  low  average,  a  will  a- week.  The  old  gentle- 
man or  lady,  never  very  remarkable  in  the  best  of  times  for  good 
temper,  is  full  of  aches  and  pains  from  head  to  foot ;  full  of  fancies 
and  caprices ;  full  of  spleen,  distrust,  suspicion,  and  dislike.  To 
cancel  old  wills,  and  invent  new  ones,  is  at  last  the  sole  business  of 
such  a  testator's  existence ;  and  relations  and  friends  (some  of  whom 
have  been  bred  up  distinctly  to  inherit  a  large  share  of  the  property 
and  have  been,  from  their  cradles,  especially  disqualified  from  de- 
voting themselves  to  any  useful  pursuit,  on  that  account)  are  so 
often  and  so  unexpectedly  and  summarily  cut  off,  and  reinstated, 
and  cut  off  again,  that  the  whole  family,  down  to  the  remotest 
cousin,  is  kept  in  a  perpetual  fever.  At  length  it  becames  plain 
that  the  old  lady  or  gentleman  has  not  long  to  live ;  and  the  plainer 
this  becomes,  the  more  clearly  the  old  lady  or  gentleman  perceives 
that  everybody  is  in  a  conspiracy  against  their  poor  old  dying  rela- 
tive ;  wherefore  the  old  lady  or  gentleman  makes  another  last  will 


544      ANCIENT,  CURIOUS,  AND  FAMOUS  WILLS 

—  positively  the  last  this  time  —  conceals  the  same  in  a  china  teapot, 
and  expires  next  day.  Then  it  turns  out,  that  the  whole  of  the  real 
and  personal  estate  is  divided  between  half-a-dozen  charities ;  and 
that  the  dead  and  gone  testator  has  in  pure  spite  helped  to  do  a 
great  deal  of  good  at  the  cost  of  an  immense  amount  of  evil  passion 
and  misery.'* 

The  Cloak  and  Earring  of  Charles  I. 

On  the  morning  of  January  30th,  1649,  Charles  I.  rose  early  and 
for  some  time  remained  in  prayer  and  meditation;  he  was  then 
taken  to  Whitehall  for  execution,  accompanied  by  his  faithful 
Confessor,  William  Juxon,  Bishop  of  London.  On  the  scaffold 
with  him  were  Colonel  Hacker,  another  officer,  and  two  men  dis- 
guised with  masks ;  though  heard  by  few,  the  King  addressed  the 
vast  crowd  in  the  following  words:  "For  the  people,  truly,  I  de- 
sire their  liberty  and  freedom  as  much  as  any  body  whosoever, 
but  I  must  tell  you  that  their  liberty  and  their  freedom  consists  in 
having  of  government  those  laws  by  which  their  life  and  their 
goods  may  be  most  their  own.  It  is  not  for  having  share  in  Gov- 
ernment, Sirs ;  that  is  nothing  pertaining  to  them  ;  a  subject  and  a 
sovereign  are  clean  different  things,  and  therefore  until  you  do  that, 
I  mean  that  you  do  put  the  people  in  that  liberty  as  I  say,  certainly 
they  will  never  enjoy  themselves." 

He  made  a  last  profession  of  faith  and  gathered  his  hair  under  his 
cap ;  then  took  off  his  cloak  and  George  and  gave  them  to  Bishop 
Juxon  with  one  word,  "Remember."  He  then  took  from  his  left 
ear  a  large  pearl  earring  and  formally  bequeathed  it  to  one  of  his 
faithful  followers ;  it  is  still  preserved  and  is  now  owned  by  the 
Duke  of  Portland.  It  is  pear-shaped,  about  five-eighths  of  an  inch 
long  and  mounted  with  a  gold  top,  and  has  a  hook  to  pass  through 
the  ear.  He  then  laid  himself  down  on  the  block,  breathed  a  short 
prayer,  and  stretched  forth  his  hands,  the  appointed  signal  for  the 
executioner,  who  performed  his  duty  well,  for  the  head  of  the  King 
was  severed  by  one  blow  and  it  was  held  up  to  the  view  of  the  crowd, 
which  answered  with  a  fearful  groan. 

Masculine  earrings  were  formerly  quite  common :  Sir  Walter 
Raleigh  wore  one,  and  so  did  Horace  Walpole,  and  the  Earl  of  South- 
ampton ;  Shakespeare  indulged  the  same  taste.  In  modern  times 
such  male  finery  has  been  largely  relegated  to  sailors,  gypsies  and 
negroes. 


ANCIENT.   CURIOUS,  AND  FAMOUS  WILLS      245 

Exhortation  to  Condemned  Prisoners 

Robert  Dowe  of  St.  Sepulchre,  London,  in  his  lifetime,  on  the  8th 
of  May,  1705,  gave  £50  to  the  end  that  the  vicar  and  church- 
wardens of  that  parish  should,  forever,  previously  to  every  execu- 
tion at  Newgate,  cause  a  bell  to  be  tolled,  and  certain  words  to  be 
delivered  to  the  prisoners  ordered  for  execution,  in  the  form  and 
manner  specified  in  the  terms  of  his  gift,  as  set  forth  in  the  old  will 
book. 

An  annual  sum  of  £l  6s.  8c?.  in  respect  of  this  gift  was  charged 
upon  the  parish  estate  in  West  Smithfield ;  it  was  paid  to  the 
sexton,  who  employed  a  person  to  go  to  Newgate  on  the  night 
previous  to  every  execution,  where  he  offered  to  perform  the  pre- 
scribed duty,  which  was  always  declined,  as  all  needful  services 
of  that  kind  were  performed  within  the  prison. 

Noorthouck,  in  his  History  of  London,  gives  the  words  of  the 
exhortation.  He  states  that  the  sexton  "comes  at  midnight,  and 
after  tolling  his  bell  calls  aloud, 

'You  prisoners  that  are  within. 
Who  for  wickedness  and  sin, 

after  many  mercies  shewn  you,  are  now  appointed  to  die  to-morrow 
in  the  forenoon,  give  ear  and  understand,  that  to-morrow  morning 
the  greatest  bell  of  St.  Sepulchre's  shall  toll  for  you  in  form  of  and 
manner  of  a  passing  bell,  as  is  used  to  be  tolled  for  those  that  are 
at  the  point  of  death ;  to  the  end  that  all  godly  people  hearing  that 
bell,  and  knowing  it  is  for  you  going  to  your  deaths,  may  be  stirred 
up  heartily  to  pray  to  God  to  bestow  his  grace  and  mercy  upon  you 
whilst  you  live.  I  beseech  you  for  Jesus  Christ's  sake  to  keep  this 
night  in  watching  and  prayer,  to  the  salvation  of  your  own  souls, 
while  there  is  yet  time  and  place  for  mercy ;  as  knowing  to-morrow 
you  must  appear  before  the  judgment  seat  of  your  Creator,  there  to- 
give  an  account  of  things  done  in  this  life,  and  to  suffer  eternal 
torments  for  your  sins  committed  against  Him,  unless  upon  your 
hearty  and  unfeigned  repentance  you  find  mercy  through  the- 
merits,  death,  and  passion  of  your  only  mediator  and  advocate 
Jesus  Christ,  who  now  sits  at  the  right  hand  of  God  to  make  inter- 
cession for  as  many  of  you  as  penitently  return  to  him.' 

"On  the  morning  of  execution,  as  the  condemned  criminals  pass 
by  St.  Sepulchre's  churchyard  to  Tyburn,  he  tolls  his  bell  again  and 
the  cart  stopping,  he  adds,  'All  good  people  pray  heartily  unto  God 


246      ANCIENT,   CURIOUS,   AND  FAMOUS   WILLS 

for  these  poor  sinners,  who  are  now  going  to  their  death,  for  whom 
this  great  bell  doth  toll.  You  that  are  condemned  to  die,  repent 
with  lamentable  tears ;  ask  mercy  of  the  Lord  for  the  salvation  of 
your  own  souls,  through  the  merits,  death,  and  passion  of  Jesus 
Christ,  who  now  sits  at  the  right  hand  of  God,  to  make  intercession 
for  as  many  of  you  as  penitently  return  unto  Him. 

*  Lord  have  mercy  upon  you  ! 
Christ  have  mercy  upon  you  ! 
Lord  have  mercy  upon  you  ! 
Christ  have  mercy  upon  you  ! '  '* 

The  Pardoned  Poet's  Farewell 

"John  Carter,"  the  convict  whose  poems  brought  him  pardon, 
did  not  leave  his  Minnesota  prison  without  a  farewell  message  to  his 
friends  within  its  walls.  This  "last  will  and  testament"  was  first 
printed  in  the  weekly  Prison  Mirror,  published  in  the  penitentiary. 
The  St.  Paul  Dispatch  quotes  it  as  follows : 

"  This  is  the  last  will  and  testament  of  me,  Anglicus.  I  hereby 
give  and  bequeath  my  collection  of  books  (amounting  to  some 
6000  volumes)  to  Mr.  Van  D.,  in  memory  of  the  not  altogether  un- 
pleasant hours  we  spent  together,  hours  marked  by  no  shadow  of 
animosity  at  any  time.  We  could  not  be  happy,  but  we  were  as 
happy  as  we  could  be.  To  Dr.  Van  D.  I  leave  my  mantle  of  origi- 
nality, and  what  remains  of  the  veuve  cliquot,  in  memory  of  encour- 
agement when  I  most  needed  it. 

"  To  the  editor  I  leave  my  space  on  this  journal  and  the  best  of 
good  wishes  in  memory  of  his  unfailing  courtesy  and  forbearance. 

"  To  Uncle  John  and  to  Sinbad  go  my  heartiest  wishes  that  we 
may  meet  soon  in  some  brighter  clime. 

"  To  Mr.  Helgrams,  my  best  dhudeen  and  the  light  of  hope. 

"  To  young  Steady  and  to  Mr.  D.  M.,  my  poetic  laurels,  which 
they  are  to  share  in  equal  measure. 

"To  the  boys  in  the  printing-office,  the  consolation  of  not  being 
obliged  to  set  up  my  excruciating  copy. 

"To  the  tailors  (and  to  the  boss  tailor  in  particular,  'Little 
Italy,')  my  very  best  pair  of  pants. 

"  To  Jim  of  the  laundry,  —  but  nothing  seems  good  enough  for 
Jim,  the  best  soul  that  ever  walked. 

"  To  Portfiro  Alexio  Gonzolio,  a  grip  of  the  hand. 

"To  Davie,  pie,  pie  again,  and  yet  more  pie. 


ANCIENT,   CURIOUS,  AND  FAMOUS  WILLS      247 

"  To  the  band  boys  —  why,  here's  to  'em  !  May  they  blow  loose. 

"To  my  fellow  pedagogues,  'More  light,'  as  Goethe  put  it,  more 
fellowship;  it  would  be  impossible  to  wise  them.  They  know 
where  I  stand  and  I  know  where  they  stand. 

"  Lawdy  !  lawdy  !  If  I  hadn't  forgotten  Otto  and  his  assistant. 
Here's  all  kinds  of  luck  to  'em,  and  no  mistake  about  it. 

"  Finally  to  all  those  not  included  hereinbefore  (for  various  rea- 
sons), here's  to  our  next  merry  meeting.  To  those  in  authority, 
thanks  for  a  square  deal.  To  mine  enemy  —  but  I  mustn't  bul- 
con  him. 

"Gentlemen,  I  go,  but  I  leave,  I  hope  I  leave  my  reputation 
behind  me. 

"  Anglicus." 

Probates  his  Own  Will 

Judge  R.  B.  Tappan,  of  Alameda,  California,  in  July,  1910,  prac- 
tically probated  his  own  will.  He  filed  in  the  Recorder's  Office,  of 
Alameda  County,  a  document  which  makes  the  Alameda  Lodge  of 
Elks  his  beneficiary.  He  provides  that  if  he  dies  or  becomes  insane 
his  property  is  to  go  to  the  Elks.  Throughout  the  legal  phraseol- 
ogy of  the  instrument  Judge  Tappan  has  made  many  unique  ob- 
servations, among  which  he  states  that  he  trusts  that  no  one  will 
inspect  him  too  closely  for  signs  of  dementia.     He  says : 

"I  hope  that  such  things  as  leading  a  horse  over  a  hill  while  I  am 
hatless  and  coatless  and  wearing  a  bandana  handkerchief  over  my 
head  or  wearing  moccasins  in  the  city  will  not  be  considered  evi- 
dence of  insanity  sufficient  to  revoke  the  terms  of  this  trust." 

On  Judge  Tappan's  death  he  directs  that  such  property  as  he  has 
transferred  to  the  trust  shall  immediately  be  put  to  the  uses  of  the 
Elks  lodge  after  paying  his  funeral  expenses,  which,  he  says,  should 
not  be  over  $75.  He  remarks  in  the  document  that  he  has  already 
paid  $10  for  a  redwood  box  to  convey  his  remains  to  the  crematory. 
In  regard  to  the  document.  Judge  Tappan  said  : 

"I  have  the  consent  of  the  directors  of  my  lodge  of  Elks  to  keep 
for  me  in  their  possession  during  my  life  my  property  now  in  their 
possession,  and  any  property  which  I  may  place  in  their  custody 
hereafter  will  be  similarly  held.  I  have  made  provisions  in  the 
declaration  which  will  pass  the  trust  fund  to  the  Elks  lodge  in  the 
event  of  my  death  or  in  the  event  of  my  becoming  insane.  The 
question  of  insanity  is  left  to  the  officers  of  my  lodge.  There  may 
arise  an  occasion  where  some  meddlesome  person  or  persons  would 


248      ANCIENT,   CUHIOUS,  AND  FAMOUS  WILLS 

lodge  a  contest,  and  perhaps  my  wishes  concerning  the  disposition 
of  what  belongs  to  R.  B.  Tappan  would  not  be  complied  with.  I 
have  a  right  to  do  what  I  see  fit  with  what  is  mine  without  consult- 
ing any  one  else,  and  it  is  a  great  satisfaction  to  me  to-day  to  know 
just  where  my  property  will  go  in  the  event  of  the  happening  of 
either  one  of  the  conditions  referred  to.  This  proposition  involves 
a  large  sum  of  money  and  securities  which  are  as  good  as  gold  coin, 
and  the  matter  is  no  joke.  The  oflBcers  realize  this,  or  else  they 
would  not  have  accepted  the  trust.  I  never  speculate  or  gamble  in 
any  form ;  hence  my  trust  is  not  likely  to  shrink  much." 

Trust  Companies  as  Executors 

The  Trust  Companies  of  the  United  States  and  other  countries 
have,  in  recent  years,  proved  themselves  the  best  mediums  for  ad- 
ministering wills ;  such  an  institution  located  in  Melbourne,  Aus- 
tralia, in  pointing  out  its  merits  and  stability,  quite  uniquely,  we 
think,  quoted  Tennyson's  lines  : 

"...  Men  may  come. 
And  men  may  go. 
But  I  go  on  for  ever." 


CHAPTER  VI 

WILLS   OF   FAMOUS   FOREIGNERS 

"Farewell !  a  long  farewell,  to  all  my  greatness  !" 

Will  of  the  Marquis  d'Aligre 

Before  quoting  the  will  of  the  Marquis  d'Aligre,  we  will  recall  a 
little  incident  of  his  life,  which,  though  it  serves  to  show  his  char- 
acter, does  not  prepare  us  for  the  various  phases  of  his  shrewd  and 
humorous  mind. 

One  day  the  marquis  went  to  pay  a  visit  to  the  Due  de  X.,  one 
of  his  friends,  a  man  of  scrupulous  propriety  and  a  great  stickler 
for  etiquette.  Hardly  had  he  taken  leave,  after  an  hour's  chat, 
before  the  duke  perceived  on  the  mantelpiece  a  pair  of  brown  gloves  ; 
he  looked  at  them  and  then  drew  back  with  horror ;  these  gloves 
of  an  indescribable  hue  had  evidently  once  been  white  !  and  it  was 
actual  wear  that  had  tinted  them.  The  tips  of  the  fingers  were 
twisted  about  and  stiff,  and  the  gaping  buttonholes  testified  to  their 
protracted  and  loyal  service.  No  housemaid  would  have  worn 
them  to  clean  her  stoves. 

The  duke  took  his  tongs,  seized  the  gloves,  and  laying  them  on  a 
folded  newspaper,  rolled  them  up  with  precaution,  and  having 
written  on  a  slip  of  paper,  "Gloves  belonging  to  a  great  noble- 
man, one  of  the  largest  landowners  in  France,"  he  fixed  it  with  a 
pin  to  this  singular  parcel.  Not  many  minutes  later  arrives  the 
valet  of  the  marquis,  who,  presenting  himself  before  the  duke,  begs 
to  know,  not  without  some  embarrassment,  and  blushing  up  to  his 
ears,  whether  his  master  had  not  forgotten  his  gloves.  Needless 
to  say  they  were  forthwith  handed  to  him. 

We  now  proceed  to  the  will  of  this  gentleman,  of  which  we  pro- 
pose to  transcribe  the  most  remarkable  clauses,  which,  however,  we 
must  remark,  seem  to  have  been  penned  in  a  spirit  of  justice. 

"Art.  rV. — I  leave  to  M.  de  Boissey,  my  blessing,  to  com- 
pensate him  for  the  curses  which  M.  Pasquier  heaped  upon  him 
every  day.     May  it  be  of  use  to  him  on  the  judgment-day." 

"Art.  VH.  —  I  withdraw  from  M.  A  .  .  .  ,  and  M  ...  x  the 
249 


250      ANCIENT,   CURIOUS,  AND  FAMOUS  WILLS 

sums  I  had  left  them  by  a  former  will ;  they  have  so  often  pro- 
claimed that  I  am  a  man  who  would  cut  a  farthing  in  four,  that  I 
would  on  no  account  oblige  them  to  change  their  opinion." 

"Art.  IX.  — I  advise  Madame  de  Pomereu,  or  those  she  may 
authorize,  to  pay  to  the  charcutiers  of  Paris  the  sum  of  10,000  francs 
in  remembrance  of  their  predecessors,  who  before  the  Revolution 
dealt  for  their  ham  and  other  smoked  meats  at  the  Hotel  d'Aligre, 
Rue  St.  Honore. 

"  Art.  X.  —  I  leave  20,000  francs  a-year  to  the  invalide  who, 
being  on  guard  on  the  Pont  des  Arts  in  1839,  and,  judging  from 
the  shabbiness  of  my  dress  that  I  was  in  distress,  paid  for  me  the 
five  centimes  toll." 

"Art.  XIII.  —  Considering  that  virtue  ought  to  be  encouraged, 
I  consecrate  100,000  francs  yearly  to  the  formation  of  fifty  dowries 
of  2000  francs  in  favour  of  fifty  Rosieres.  The  Mayor  of  Nanterre, 
who  finds  these  maidens  every  year,  will  be  good  enough  to  under- 
take the  distribution.  If  by  chance  his  commune  should  not  fur- 
nish him  the  necessary  contingent,  he  is  authorized  to  address  him- 
self to  the  Gymnase  Theatre. 

"Art.  XIV. —  I  leave  200,000  francs  a-year  to  the  'Pha- 
lansterians ' ;  but  they  are  only  to  receive  this  sum  on  the  day  on 
which  they  shall  have  transformed  the  ocean  into  orangeade,  and 
gratified  mankind  with  that  appendage  he  needs  to  make  him  equal 
to  the  gibbon." 

"Art.  XVI.  —  Taking  compassion  on  the  poor  of  the  first  arron- 
dissement,  I  desire  that  the  value  of  the  cereals  harvested  on  my 
land  at  the  next  harvest  shall  be  distributed  to  them  in  its  entirety. 

"Art.  XX.  —  Finally,  I  leave  to  my  relatives,  oblivion;  to  my 
friends,  ingratitude ;  to  God,  my  soul.  As  for  my  body,  it  belongs 
to  my  family  vault." 

The  brother  of  the  testator  was  put  into  the  will  for  a  legacy  so 
absurdly  disproportionate  to  what  he  considered  he  had  a  right  to 
expect  that  the  following  not  very  maturely  considered  observation 
thereon  appeared  in  a  newspaper  of  the  date  (1847)  : 

"The  celebrated  Croesus  who  has  just  died  has  revealed  in  his 
will  certain  little  peculiarities  of  which  few  suspected  him.  He  was 
a  great  protector  of  rats ;  and  on  the  day  but  one  before  that  of  his 
death  he  was  at  the  races  with  four  of  these  animals  in  his  caleche. 
He  had  a  brother  who  gave  him  very  good  advice  on  this  subject, 
like  the  Cleante  of  '  Tartuffe,'  to  whom  he  replied  by  a  Httle  posthu- 
mous epigram,  indicative  of  his  churUsh  disposition;   he  has  left 


ANCIENT,   CURIOUS,   AND  FAMOUS  WILLS      251 

him,  out  of  his  large  fortune,  a  dole  of  20,000  francs  per  annum. 
There  is  no  revenge  so  hard  and  bitter  as  that  of  an  old  man. 
There  are,  we  venture  to  think,  many  brothers,  all  the  same,  who 
would  be  very  glad  of  a  fraternal  legacy  of  eight  hundred  a-year, 
and,  moreover,  we  know  nothing  of  the  provocation  that  may 
have  been  given ;  like  Lord  Campbell,  '  we  should  Hke  to  hear  the 
dog's  story.'  " 

Possibly  the  old  Marquis  felt  the  separation  he  contemplated 
between  himself  and  the  fortune  he  had  amassed,  but  if  he  enter- 
tained any  malicious  sentiments  against  those  to  whom  he  was 
obliged  to  leave  what  he  could  not  take  away  with  him,  he  seems 
to  have  been  fully  justified  in  the  somewhat  severe  animadversions 
he  has  passed  on  some  of  his  legatees. 

To  a  lady  relative,  who  had  been  full  of  attentions  for  him,  he  left 
a  broken  cup,  jeering  her  with  the  taunt  that  while  she  thought  she 
was  taking  him  in  he  was  laughing  in  his  sleeve  at  the  grimace  she 
would  make  when  she  found  that  it  was  he  who  had  got  all  her  little 
gifts,  her  smiles  and  favors  out  of  her,  knowing  all  the  while  that 
he  had  no  intention  of  repaying  them  as  she  expected. 

"As  for  you,"  he  says  at  the  end  of  the  will,  "you,  my  good  and 
admirable  valet,  who  have  so  long  taken  me  for  your  dupe,  you  will 
now  learn  that  it  is  you  who  have  been  mine ;  when  at  the  conclu- 
sion of  my  dinner  you  thought  I  was  applauding  your  economy  and 
your  zeal,  in  carefully  putting  together  the  remains  of  bottles  of 
wine  and  keeping  them  for  the  next  meal,  it  never  occurred  to  you 
that  I  was  well  aware  you  took  for  your  own  use  whole  bottles. 
When  you  came  with  tearful  eyes  and  coaxing  voice  to  wait  on  me 
the  moment  I  was  suffering  from  any  trifling  indisposition,  present- 
ing to  me  my  tisanes  with  an  assumed  air  of  condolence  and  anxiety, 
you  little  thought  how  my  instinct,  following  you  into  the  servants' 
hall,  guessed  the  language  in  which  you  expressed  yourself  there. 
'The  old  fellow,'  you  used  to  say,  '  can't  last  much  longer,  and 
then  I  shall  come  in  for  my  hard-earned  legacy.' 

"Well,  my  dear  fellow,  I  am  sorry  to  tell  you  this  was  all  a  mis- 
take, and  you  have  got  to  learn  that  masters  are  not  always  so 
much  stupider  as  you  suppose  than  their  servants. 

"As  for  you,  my  relatives,  who  have  been  so  long  spelling  upon 
this  fortune,  on  which  '  I  had  concentrated  all  my  affections,' 
you  are  not  going  to  touch  a  penny  of  it,  and  not  one  of  you  will  be 
able  to  boast  that  you  have  squandered  the  millions  which  the  old 
Marquis  d'Aligre  had  taken  so  many  years  to  hoard  up." 


252      ANCIENT,   CURIOUS,  AND  FAMOUS  WILLS 

Cardinal  Antonelli's  Will 

The  great  wealth  Cardinal  Antonelli,who  died  in  1876,  is  reported 
to  have  left,  has  aroused  special  interest  with  regard  to  his  will,  and 
given  rise  to  endless  gossip,  not  only  as  to  its  contents,  but  con- 
cerning the  document  itself.  At  first  it  was  reported  that  it  could 
not  be  found ;  then,  that  it  had  disappeared  in  some  remarkable  man- 
ner ;  that  it  had  been  purposely  destroyed  ;  that  the  cardinal  had 
made  no  will ;  and  many  other  canards  were  circulated.  Later,  how- 
ever, the  iyz6e7-/a  announced  that  it  was  in  the  hands  of  the  public  no- 
tary in  the  Piazza  San  Claudio,  where  it  could  be  seen,  but  that  only 
those  having  a  direct  interest  in  its  contents  could  be  permitted  to 
examine  it.  Subsequently  the  Popolo  Romano  published  the  docu- 
ment in  extenso,  together  with  the  notary's  statement  concerning  it, 
as  follows : 

"repertory  no.  187 

"Reigning  His  Majesty  Victor  Emmanuel  IL,  by  the  grace  of 
God  and  the  will  of  the  nation.  King  of  Italy. 

"I,  the  undersigned,  public  notary,  certify  that  among  my  acts 
under  the  hereafter-inscribed  day  is  to  be  found  the  registered  re- 
port of  the  deposit  of  the  holograph  testament  of  the  defunct  Most 
Eminent  Cardinal  Giacomo  Antonelli,  made  at  the  instance  of  the 
illustrious  advocate,  Signor  Antonio  Bachetoni,  to  the  following 
effect : 

"  The  year  one  thousand  eight  hundred  and  seventy-six  on  Thurs- 
day, the  twenty-third  day  of  the  month  of  November,  in  Rome. 
Before  me,  Scipione  Vici,  public  notary,  having  my  office  upon  the 
Piazza  San  Claudio,  No.  93,  and  inscribed  in  the  Council  of  Notaries 
of  the  district  of  the  Collegio  di  Roma,  assisted  by  the  undersigned 
witnesses,  qualified  according  to  law,  and  in  the  presence  of  the 
illustrious  advocate  Signor  Enrico  Simonetti,  Praetor  of  my  manda- 
ment,  duly  executed  at  his  residence,  situated  in  Via  Gesu  e  Maria, 
No.  28,  and  of  the  Signori  Jacopini  Torollo,  son  of  the  late  Giovanni 
Batta,  of  Arcidosso,  in  the  Province  of  Grosseto,  domiciled  Via 
Orsoline  No.  2,  and  Filippo  Ciavambini,  son  of  the  late  Petito,  of 
Ascoli,  domiciled  Via  de'  Speech!  No.  3,  both  employes,  has  person- 
ally appeared  the  illustrious  advocate  Antonio  Bachetoni,  son  of  the 
late  Giovanni,  native  of  Spoleto,  domiciled  in  Rome,  in  Via  del 
Corso  No.  509,  of  full  age,  being  juridically  qualified,  and  known  to 
me,  notary,  who,  in  consequence  of  express  instructions  received 
from  the  noble  Signori  Conti  Gregorio,  Angelo,  and  Luigi  Antonelli, 


ANCIENT,   CURIOUS,  AND  FAMOUS  WILLS      253 

brothers  german,  has  appHed  to  me  to  deposit  with  me  notary, 
certain  papers,  which  they  assert  contain  the  last  testamentary 
dispositions  of  the  aforesaid  defunct  Most  Eminent  and  Most  Rev- 
erend Signor  Cardinal  Giacomo  Antonelli,  who  passed  from  among 
the  living  on  the  sixth  day  of  the  current  November,  as  results  from 
the  certificate  of  the  Board  of  Health,  given  the  22nd  day  of  No- 
vember, 1876,  and  which  I  insert  (Appendix  No.  1).  Wherefore, 
in  presence  of  the  aforesaid  Signor  Praetor  and  of  the  aforesaid  wit- 
nesses, he  has  consigned  to  me  an  open  envelope,  on  the  outside  of 
which  was  found  written,  '  Testament  of  Cardinal  Giacomo  Anto- 
nelli,' and  having  examined  the  contents  of  the  same,  they  were 
found  to  consist  of  two  sheets  of  paper  folded  in  quarto,  and  an- 
other small  envelope,  of  which  the  requisite  description  will  be  made 
in  its  proper  place.  Opening  the  two  sheets,  it  was  found  that  they 
were  in  one  handwriting  and  consisted  of  six  pages  written  through- 
out, and  the  seventh  upon  the  half  only,  followed  by  the  date  '  Rome, 
January  18,  1871,'  and  by  the  signature  '  G.  Card.  Antonelli.'  On 
the  third  page  an  interlineation  of  fifteen  words  was  observed,  and 
on  the  fifth  and  seventh  pages  the  insertion  of  a  word  in  each  with- 
out any  marginal  note  or  erasure,  as  follows  : 


" '  Desiring  to  dispose  of  my  property  now  that,  by  the  grace  of 
God,  I  find  myself  sane  in  mind  and  body,  using  the  faculties  which 
I  have  as  Cardinal  of  the  Holy  Roman  Church,  with  this  document, 
by  me  written  and  subscribed,  I  make  herewith  my  last  will  and 
testament.  Before  everything  else  I  recommend  my  poor  soul  to 
the  infinite  mercy  of  God,  trusting  that  through  the  intercession  of 
the  Most  Holy  Immaculate  Mary,  and  of  my  patron  saints,  St. 
Peter,  St.  Paul,  St.  James,  and  St.  Louis,  He  may  grant  me  remis- 
sion of  my  sins,  and  make  me  worthy  of  the  eternal  glory  of  Para- 
dise. I  forbid  the  dissecting  or  embalming  of  my  body  after  death 
in  any  way  or  for  whatsoever  motive,  and  order  that  it  be  interred 
in  the  burying-place  of  my  chapel  in  the  Church  of  Sta.  Agata  alia 
Suburra,  near  my  good  mother. 

" '  The  funeral  shall  be  made  according  to  custom  in  the  church 
which  it  shall  please  the  Holy  Father  to  appoint.  During  the  eight 
days  following  my  death  I  order  that  a  hundred  masses  a  day  be 
celebrated,  with  the  alms  of  thirty  sous  for  each  mass. 

" '  A  part  of  these  masses  shall  be  caused  to  be  celebrated  by  the 


254      ANCIENT,   CURIOUS,   AND   FAMOUS   WILLS 

Mendicant  Friars.  I  humbly  beg  the  Holy  Father  to  accept  the 
respectful  oflFering  I  make  him  of  the  crucifix  standing  on  my  writ- 
ing-table, having  the  cross  inlaid  with  lapis-lazuli,  and  at  the  base 
the  kneeling  Magdalene,  within  the  centre  of  said  base  a  bas-relief, 
representing  the  Addolorata,  and  other  ornaments  in  silver.  I 
pray  him  to  accept  with  paternal  goodness  this  object  as  a  homage 
from  the  most  devoted  and  faithful  of  his  subjects,  who  dies  tran- 
quil in  the  conscience  of  never  having  failed  in  duty  towards  his 
sacred  person,  and  the  conviction  of  having  always  with  all  earnest- 
ness and  honesty  served  him  in  the  true  interests  of  the  Church  and 
of  the  State.  Before  proceeding  to  dispose  of  my  private  fortune, 
I  declare  that  I  do  not  possess  any  other  capital  beyond  that  which 
came  from  the  heritage  of  my  excellent  father,  or  which  I  have  been 
able  to  acquire  through  the  means  left  me  by  him.  I  protest, 
therefore,  against  all  the  calumnies  which  on  that  and  on  any  other 
account  whatsoever  have  been  in  so  many  ways  circulated  through 
the  world,  before  God  who  is  to  judge  me,  and  before  Him  I  forgive 
from  my  heart  all  those  who  have  tried  to  do  me  evil. 

" '  If,  in  doing  my  duty,  I  may  have  caused  displeasure  to  any- 
one, I  have  the  conscience  of  never  having  had  even  the  intention 
of  injuring  anyone  whomsoever.  I  direct  my  heirs  to  consign  to 
the  persons  whom  I  have  thought  it  my  duty  to  remember  some 
memoranda  which  I  shall  leave  written  in  a  sealed  paper  by  me 
subscribed. 

" '  I  leave  to  the  Hospital  of  Santo  Spirito,  for  one  time  only,, 
twenty-five  francs,  and  other  twenty-five  francs  to  the  Holy  Places 
of  Jerusalem. 

" '  To  my  Titular  Church  of  Santa  Maria  in  Via  Lata,  I  leave  my 
white  tonacella.  The  red  one  I  leave  to  the  Church  of  Sta.  Agata 
alia  Suburra,  the  commenda  of  which  I  hold.  The  violet  pianeta 
I  leave  to  the  monastery  of  St.  Marta,  of  which  I  am  protector. 

The  sacred  hangings  and  altar-plate  of  my  private  chapel  I 
desire  may  be  preserved  for  the  chapel  of  my  house  on  the  Quirinal, 
and  they  shall  belong  to  the  heir  to  whom  I  assign  the  said  house. 

"'I  institute  as  universal  proprietary  heirs  my  dearest  brothers, 
Filippo,  Gregorio,  Luigi,  and  Angelo,  my  nephew,  Agostino,  son 
of  Gregory,  and  my  other  nephew,  Paolo,  son  of  Luigi,  to  each  of 
whom,  as  I  shall  say  afterwards,  I  assign  and  determine  such  por- 
tion of  the  property  and  of  the  objects  as  I  will  they  may  possess, 
and  I  will  that  each  of  them  may  bear  the  respective  legacy-duty 
according  to  the  value  of  the  share  falling  to  him. 


ANCIENT,   CURIOUS,  AND  FAMOUS  WILLS      255 

" '  All  my  possessions,  furniture,  gold,  silver,  precious  objects, 
titles,  and  effects  whatsoever,  the  credits,  and  the  little  money  that 
may  be  found  in  my  possession  at  the  time  of  my  death,  except  the 
collection  of  stones  and  other  things  of  which  I  shall  dispose  herein- 
after, I  assign  to  my  brothers  as  above,  Filippo,  Gregorio,  Luigi, 
and  Angelo,  and  I  pray  them  to  accept  this  my  disposition  as  a 
proof  of  the  sincere  affection  which  I  have  always  borne  them 
equally,  and  as  an  attestation  of  the  gratitude  I  have  always 
entertained  towards  them  for  the  affection  which  they  have  shown 
me  under  all  circumstances. 

" '  I  assign  to  my  nephew  Agostino,  heir  as  above,  my  house  in 
Rome,  situate  near  the  Quirinal,  bought  from  Conte  Vimercati, 
with  everything  which  is  in  the  said  house  at  the  moment  of  writing 
this  present  will ;  so  that,  if  at  the  moment  of  my  death  any  objects 
of  whatsoever  kind  be  found  there  which  are  now  in  my  apartment  at 
the  Vatican  these  I  declare  to  belong  to  my  brothers  as  above.  I 
assign  also  to  my  aforesaid  nephew  the  altar-furniture  of  my  private 
chapel  at  the  Vatican.  I  assign  him  also  the  collection  of  marbles, 
with  the  cabinets  containing  them,  exactly  as  they  are  in  my  apart- 
ment at  the  Vatican. 

" '  I  declare,  however,  that  in  the  aforesaid  collection  I  do  not 
mean  to  comprehend  the  rock  crystals  and  other  objects  which  are 
kept  in  three  other  separate  cabinets,  one  of  which  contains  medals, 
which  I  declare  to  belong  to  my  brothers  as  above.  I  assign  to  my 
nephew,  Paolo,  son  of  my  brother,  Luigi,  heir  as  above,  all  the 
property  I  possess  in  the  territory  of  Ceccano  and  adjoining  terri- 
tories, with  all  that  is  to  be  found  in  it,  nothing  excluded,  with  the 
following  conditions  —  that  is,  that  my  brother,  Angelo,  having 
had  the  patience  to  occupy  himself  always  with  the  administration 
of  my  possessions  in  Ceccano  and  adjoining  territories,  I  ordain 
that  neither  my  said  nephew  nor  any  other  person  have  any  right 
or  title  whatsoever  to  take  him  to  account  for  the  aforesaid  ad- 
ministration, he  having  always  done  everything  with  my  full  un- 
derstanding and  having  always  regularly  transmitted  to  me  all  the 
rents  of  the  aforesaid  properties. 

" '  I  dispose,  moreover,  that  all  that  shall  exist  at  the  time  of 
my  death  of  products  or  rents,  as  well  natural  as  civil,  from  the 
said  properties  as  above,  for  two  seasons  following  the  same,  in- 
cluding that  in  which  my  death  shall  happen,  shall  be  freely  enjoyed 
by  him  as  legatee,  continuing  to  hold  the  administration  as  he  did 
during  my  lifetime,  exonerating  him  again  from  any  rendering  of 


^56      ANCIENT,  CURIOUS,  AND  FAMOUS  WILLS 

account  whatsoever.  I  dispose  also  that  the  heir  shall  not  enter 
into  possession  of  the  aforesaid  property  until  after  two  seasons 
as  aforesaid  after  my  death. 

" '  I  leave  besides,  as  a  legacy  to  my  said  brother,  Angelo,  the 
two  large  silver  vases  with  bas-reliefs  on  their  bowls  which  are  to 
be  found  in  my  writing-room  of  my  apartment  in  the  Vatican,  and 
I  request  my  said  brother  to  accept  and  preserve  them  as  an  attes- 
tation of  my  affection  and  a  recognition  of  all  the  affectionate  re- 
gards he  has  shown  towards  me  during  my  life.  And  I  also  request 
of  all  my  heirs  that  all  the  legacies  of  furniture,  pictures,  and  other 
objects  may  be  preserved  and  used  in  their  respective  families, 
avoiding  under  any  circumstances  that  any  portion  of  them  be 
sold  by  pubhc  auction. 

Finally,  I  direct  that  all  my  said  heirs  shall  amicably  divide 
my  heritage  among  themselves  in  the  portions  according  as  I  have 
assigned  them,  making  of  them  a  simple  familiar  description  for 
their  own  guidance.  I  also  leave  to  all  ray  servants  for  their  natu- 
ral lives  ;  to  those  in  my  service  at  the  time  of  my  death,  and  who 
have  served  me  for  more  than  twenty-five  years,  the  full  monthly 
wages  they  received  when  I  was  alive;  to  those  who  have  served 
me  for  more  than  fifteen  years  I  leave  two-thirds  of  their  monthly 
wages ;  and  to  those  who  have  served  me  for  less  than  ten  years, 
one-third  of  their  monthly  wages.  In  the  enjoyment  of  this  dis- 
position, notwithstanding  that  it  is  unnecessary  to  declare  it,  I 
intend  that  the  two  ecclesiastics  who  form  part  of  my  household 
shall  be  comprised.  I  expressly  prohibit  that  any  of  the  aforesaid 
shall,  for  whatsoever  reason,  effect  mortgages  upon  the  property 
which  constitutes  my  heritage  or  upon  that  of  my  heirs  for  the 
purpose  of  securing  any  assignments  I  have  left  them,  and  I  declare 
that  I  have  made  the  said  assignments  solely  under  the  express 
condition  that  they  do  not  affect  any  such  mortgage ;  and  if  any  or 
all  of  them  should  think  fit  to  do  so,  then  I  declare  that  ipso  facto 
they  are  excluded  from  the  prescription  of  the  said  assignment, 
which  is  none  other  than  a  gratuitous  liberality,  and  I  give  them 
instead  one  hundred  scudi  for  once  only. 

"  '  G.  Cabdinale  Antonelli. 

"'Rome,  18th  January,  1871.' 

"The  small  envelope  enclosed  with  the  above  bears  on  the  out- 
side the  following  inscription:  'For  my  heirs.'  The  contents, 
being  taken  out,  consisted  of  a  small  sheet  of  paper  written  evenly 


ANCIENT,   CURIOUS,  AND  FAMOUS  WILLS      257 

in  the  same  handwriting,  on  the  first  two  pages  throughout,  and  a 
part  of  the  third,  and  at  bottom  the  date  —  Rome,  18th  of  January, 
1871,  and  the  signature,  'G.  Card.  AntoneUi.'  There  are  neither 
erasures  nor  marginal  notes,  interUneations  nor  additions.  The 
tenor  of  this  httle  sheet  is  as  follows : 

" '  My  heirs  are  to  pay  the  following  legacies : 

" '  To  my  good  sister  Rosalia,  married  Sanguigni,  5000  francs. 

"  *  To  my  niece  Anna  Sanguigni,  married  to  Count  Pocci,  5000 
francs. 

" '  To  my  niece  Lucia  Antonelli,  5000  francs. 

"*  To  my  niece  Teresa  Antonelli,  5000  francs. 

" '  To  my  niece  Innocenza,  married  Bornana,  the  henitier  with 
silver  bas-relief  representing  the  Nativity,  which  stands  near  my 
bed. 

" '  To  my  nephew  Agostino,  the  watch  which  stands  on  the  Uttle 
table,  with  the  arms  of  the  Holy  Father,  given  me  by  His  Holiness 
on  occasion  of  the  Centenary  of  St.  Peter. 

" '  To  my  nephew  Domenico,  the  other  pocket- watch,  with  my 
arms. 

" '  To  my  nephew  Paolo,  the  watch,  with  gold  chain,  which  I 
wear  every  day,  with  my  arms  on  one  side  and  my  cipher  on  the 
other. 

" '  To  my  nephew  Pietro,  twelve  silver  converts  of  those  which  I 
use  daily. 

" '  To  my  sister-in-law  Mariana,  one  of  my  pair  of  great  silver 
lamps,  whichever  she  chooses.  The  other  I  leave  to  my  sister-in- 
law  Peppina. 

"  *  To  my  sister-in-law  Minmia,  I  leave  my  triangular  silver  ink- 
stand which  stands  upon  my  best  writing-table,  together  with  one 
of  the  two  httle  boxes  of  Florentine  mosaic  which  are  in  the  same 
room. 

" '  To  my  sister-in-law  Vittoria,  I  leave  the  silver  basin  and  vase 
of  English  work  which  are  in  the  case.  To  my  niece  Emma,  wife  of 
Agostino,  I  leave  all  my  lace.  To  her  good  mother,  Contessa  Gar- 
cia, I  leave  the  httle  service  of  silver-gilt,  consisting  of  tray,  coffee- 
pot, cream-jug,  sugar-bowl,  and  cups,  with  spoons,  requesting  her 
to  accept  them  as  a  remembrance  of  one  who  is  grateful  to  her  for  all 
the  kindness  she  used  towards  him  while  he  was  in  this  world,  and 
who  prays  her  to  make  use  of  the  said  objects  for  her  dejeuner. 

" '  G.  Card.  Antonelli. 

"'Rome,  January  18th,  1871.'  " 


258      ANCIENT,   CURIOUS,  AND  FAMOUS  WILLS 

Then  follow  the  attestation  of  the  notary  and  the  signatures  of 
Cardinal  Antonelli's  lawyer,  of  the  Praetor,  and  of  the  witnesses, 
and  the  note  of  expenses  of  registration. 

Will  of  Matthew  Arnold 

The  estate  of  Matthew  Arnold  amounted  to  £1041.  His  will 
is  in  his  own  handwriting,  and  is  one  of  the  shortest  that  ever  came 
under  probate :  "  I  leave  everything  of  which  I  die  possessed  to 
my  wife,  Frances." 

Will  of  Jean  Baptiste  Robert  Auger 

Jean  Baptiste  Robert  Auger,  Baron  de  Montyon,  was  born  in 
1733  and  died  in  1820 ;  he  was  a  French  economist  and  philan- 
thropist, and  a  friend  of  Franklin.  The  Baron  was  a  member  of 
the  King's  Government  just  before  the  Revolution.  Although  by 
birth  and  social  position  an  aristocrat,  all  his  heart  was  with  the 
poor  and  suffering  of  the  land. 

In  1783  he  founded  several  prizes,  the  chief  one  being  a  prize 
for  the  most  remarkably  virtuous  act  on  the  part  of  any  poor 
French  citizen.  By  his  will  he  left  a  large  sum  of  money  for  the 
purpose  of  "aiding  virtue,"  as  he  said.  "The  doers  of  the  actions 
honored,"  the  will  stipulated,  "shall  not  be  of  a  station  above  the 
middle  classes  of  humanity."  The  annual  award  of  these  prizes 
is  made  by  the  French  Academy. 

As  years  have  passed,  other  rich  philanthropists  have  added 
to  the  original  sum,  until  to-day  the  income  is  suflScient  to  award 
every  year  a  large  number  of  prizes  that  are  really  of  substantial 
aid  to  those  who  receive  them. 

For  a  number  of  years  after  the  Government  had  received  the 
bequest,  it  did  not  make  any  awards.  During  the  Revolution 
the  convention  voted  that  it  did  not  approve  of  awarding  any  such 
prizes ;  so  the  principal  was  allowed  to  accumulate.  But  during 
the  reign  of  Napoleon  it  was  turned  over  to  the  newly  restored 
Academy  as  the  most  capable  and  impartial  tribunal  in  the  land, 
and  the  Academy,  which  is  composed  of  forty  foremost  men  of 
letters  in  France,  has  had  charge  of  the  constantly  increasing  fund 
ever  since. 

The  award  of  prizes  is  made  with  much  ceremony  at  a  public 
meeting  of  the  Academy  on  a  certain  fixed  day  every  year.  One  of 
the  most  eloquent  members  of  the  Academy  is  chosen  to  tell  in  an 


ANCIENT,  CURIOUS,  AND  FAMOUS  WILLS      259 

** oration"  to  whom,  and  why,  the  prizes  for  that  year  have  been 
awarded.  If  all  these  "  orations  "  could  be  collected  and  published, 
they  would  make  one  of  the  most  inspiring  books  ever  written. 

Part  of  each  bequest  is  set  aside  to  employ  investigators  to  make 
thorough  inquiries  about  each  request  for  a  reward.  Such  re- 
quests are  never  permitted  to  come  from  the  person  to  be  rewarded, 
nor  from  his  family.  Generally,  the  people  in  a  small  town  or 
village  send  a  joint  petition  to  the  Academy,  requesting  the  reward 
for  one  of  their  members. 

Among  the  recent  rewards  is  the  characteristic  case  of  Lau- 
rentine  Armenjon,  a  girl  from  the  mountains  of  Savoy.  She  is 
eighth  in  a  family  of  fifteen  children.  When  nine  years  old,  her 
youngest  sister  was  carried  away  by  gypsies,  and  from  grief  and 
distress  over  this,  the  mother  lost  her  reason.  Ever  since, 
now  ten  years  ago,  Laurentine  has  had  charge  of  the  brothers  and 
sisters,  older  as  well  as  younger ;  and  of  the  bedridden  demented 
mother  besides,  while  the  father  is  away  in  the  fields  toiling  for  his 
scanty  living. 

A  gift  of  one  thousand  francs  was  sent  to  one  of  the  most  remote 
islands  of  the  South  Pacific,  to  three  nuns  who  are  surely  among  the 
most  heroic  of  living  creatures.  The  Island  of  Mangareva,  where 
they  live,  is  a  leper  colony.  It  is  not  likely  that  one  of  these 
women  will  ever  leave  this  lonely  desolate  spot,  so  far  away  from 
the  land  of  their  famiUes  and  friends  that  news  from  home  comes 
only  once  in  six  months.  The  nearest  civilization  lies  forty  days' 
journey  over  the  ocean.  Many  nuns  have  gone  before  these  three 
to  voluntary  exile  on  this  island,  but  they  have  all  succumbed 
within  a  few  years;  one  or  two  were  driven  insane  by  the  very 
loneliness  and  desolation  of  the  life.  Though  they  knew  this  in 
advance,  yet  these  three  women  from  Brittany  have  consecrated 
the  rest  of  their  lives,  be  they  long  or  short,  to  God's  service  there. 

No  prize  is  ever  granted  for  one  act  of  heroism ;  but  every  award 
is  made  to  a  person  who  has  devoted  years  of  patient  service  to 
some  good  cause.  Moreover,  the  awards  are  rather  aids  than 
prizes,  granted  in  order  to  enable  the  person  awarded  to  carry  on 
some  good  work  to  even  greater  usefulness. 

Will  of  Lord  Bacon 
Lord  Bacon  in  1625,  bequeathed  his  soul  and  body  to  God, 
while  his  name  and  memory  he  left  to  men's  charitable  speeches 
and  to  foreign  nations  and  the  next  ages. 


260      ANCIENT,   CURIOUS,  AND  FAMOUS  WILLS 

Will  of  the  Duke  of  Brunswick 

"To-day,  the  5th of  March,  1871,  Hotel de  la  Metropole,  Geneva. 

"  This  is  our  Will  or  Testament,  —  We,  Charles  Frederic  Augusta 
William,  by  the  Grace  of  God  Duke  Sovereign  of  Brunswick  and 
of  Luneburg,  &c.,  being  in  good  health  of  body  and  mind,  declare  — 

"1.  That  we  revoke  by  the  present  all  testaments  or  writings 
prior  to  this  one.  2.  We  wish  that  after  our  death  our  executors 
here  named  shall  cause  our  body  to  be  examined  by  five  of  the  most 
celebrated  physicians  and  surgeons  in  order  to  make  sure  that  we 
have  not  been  poisoned,  and  to  make  an  exact  report  in  writing, 
signed  by  them,  of  the  cause  of  our  death.  3.  We  wish  that  our 
body  be  embalmed,  and  if  better  for  its  preservation,  petrified, 
according  to  the  printed  method  adjoined.  We  wish  our  funeral 
to  be  conducted  with  all  the  ceremony  and  splendour  due  to  our 
rank  of  Sovereign  Duke.  4.  We  wish  our  body  to  be  deposed  in  a 
mausoleum  above  the  ground,  which  shall  be  erected  by  our  execu- 
tors at  Geneva,  in  a  dignified  and  prominent  position.  The  monu- 
ment shall  be  surmounted  by  an  equestrian  statue  and  surrounded 
by  those  of  our  father  and  grandfather  of  glorious  memory,  after 
the  design  attached  to  this  testament  in  imitation  of  that  of  the 
Scaglieri  at  Verona ;  our  executors  shall  construct  the  said  monu- 
ment ad  libitum  of  the  millions  of  our  succession,  in  bronze  and 
marble,  by  the  most  celebrated  artists.  5.  We  make  the  condition 
that  our  testamentary  executors  shall  not  enter  into  any  sort  of 
compromise  with  our  unnatural  relations  —  Prince  William  of 
Brunswick,  the  ex-King  of  Hanover,  his  son,  the  Duke  of  Cam- 
bridge, or  any  one  else  of  our  pretended  family,  their  servitors, 
their  agents,  or  any  other  person  whatever.  6.  We  wish  our 
testamentary  executors  to  use  every  means  to  put  themselves  in 
possession  of  our  fortune  remaining  in  our  Duchy  of  Brunswick,  in 
Hanover,  in  Prussia,  in  America,  or  elsewhere.  7.  We  make  as  a 
condition  that  our  executors  respect  and  execute  all  the  codicils 
and  legacies  which  we  have  the  intention  to  make  in  favour  of  our 
surroundings.  8.  We  declare  that  we  leave  and  bequeath  our 
fortune  —  that  is,  our  chateaux,  domains,  forests,  estates,  mines, 
saltworks,  hotels,  houses,  parks,  libraries,  gardens,  quarries, 
diamonds,  jewels,  silver,  pictures,  horses,  carriages,  porcelain, 
furniture,  cash,  bonds,  public  funds,  bank-notes,  and  particularly 
that  important  part  of  our  fortune  which  has  been  taken  from  us 
by  force  and  kept  since  1830,  with  all  the  interests  in  our  Duchy  of 


ANCIENT,  CURIOUS,  AND  FAMOUS  WILLS     261 

Brunswick,  to  the  city  of  Geneva.  9.  We  leave  to  Mr.  George 
Thomas  Smith,  of  No.  228,  King's  Road,  Chelsea,  in  England, 
administrator-general,  grand  treasurer  of  our  fortune,  l,000,000f., 
and  we  nominate  him  executor  in  chief  of  this  testament.  We  like- 
wise appoint  M.  Ferdininant  Cherbuliez,  advocate  at  Genoa.  This 
testament  is  entirely  written  and  signed  by  our  hand,  and  sealed 
with  our  arms. 

"Duke  of  Brunswick." 

Will  of  Lord  Bulwer-Lytton 

The  will  of  the  late  Lord  Bulwer-Lytton,  who  died  in  1873,  con- 
tained special  directions  as  to  the  examination  of  his  body,  in  order 
to  provide  against  the  possibility  of  his  being  buried  whilst  in  a 
trance,  which  appeared  to  be  an  apprehension  of  his.  The  will 
further  provided  that  the  funeral  expenses  should  be  limited  to  what 
was  usual,  simply,  in  the  interment  of  a  private  gentleman ;  and 
that  any  epitaph  which  might  be  intended  for  his  tomb  should  be 
written  in  the  English  language. 

Will  of  Edmund  Burke 

Edmund  Burke  is  believed  to  have  been  born  in  Dublin  on  the 
12th  day  of  January,  1729 ;  he  died  on  the  8th  day  of  July,  1797. 
His  gifts  of  oratory  impressed  the  people  of  his  time,  and  have 
remained  models  ever  since ;  he  must  ever  be  held  in  affectionate 
esteem  by  Americans,  for  his  speeches  on  "American  Taxation" 
and  "Conciliation  with  America"  are  regarded  as  the  most  brilliant 
examples  of  his  eloquence  and  statesmanship.  Had  his  counsels 
been  adopted,  the  War  of  Independence  would  have  been  averted. 
Burke  left  strict  injunctions  that  his  burial  should  be  private,  and 
in  spite  of  a  great  demand  for  his  interment  in  Westminster  Abbey, 
he  was  laid  to  rest  in  the  little  church  at  Beaconsfield,  a  few  miles 
from  Windsor. 

His  will  remains  on  file  at  Somerset  House,  London,  and  the 
testament  is  here  given  as  it  there  literally  appears  : 

"  If  my  dear  Son  &  friend  had  survived  me,  any  Will  would  have 
been  unnecessary  but  since  it  has  pleased  God  to  call  him  to  him- 
self before  his  Father,  my  duty  calls  upon  me  to  make  such  a  dis- 
position of  my  worldly  affairs  as  seems  to  my  best  Judgment  most 
Equitable  and  reasonable ;  therefore,  I,  Edmund  Burke,  of  the 
parish  of  Saint  James,  Westminster,  though  suffering  under  sore 


262      ANCIENT,   CURIOUS,  AND  FAMOUS  WILLS 

and  inexpressible  affliction  being  of  sound  and  disposing  Mind  and 
not  affected  by  any  bodily  infirmity,  do  make  my  last  will  and 
Testament,  in  manner  following ;  First,  according  to  the  Ancient 
good  and  laudable  Custom  of  which  my  Heart  &  understanding 
recognizes  the  propriety,  I  bequeath  my  soul  to  God,  hoping  for 
his  Mercy  thro'  the  only  Merits  of  our  Lord  and  Saviour  Jesus 
Christ ;  my  Body  I  desire,  if  I  should  die  in  any  place  very  con- 
venient for  its  Transport  thither  (but  not  otherwise),  to  be  buried 
in  the  Church  at  Beaconsfield  near  to  the  Bodies  of  my  dearest 
Brother  &  my  dearest  Son,  in  all  Humility  praying  that  as  we 
have  lived  in  perfect  Amity  together  we  may  together  have  a  part 
in  the  Resurrection  of  the  Just ;  I  wish  my  Funeral  to  be  (without 
any  Punctiliousness  in  that  respect)  the  same  as  that  of  my  brother 
and  to  exceed  it  as  little  as  possible  in  point  of  Charge,  whether  on 
Account  of  my  Family  or  of  any  others  who  would  go  to  a  greater 
expence,  &  I  desire  in  the  same  manner  and  with  the  same 
Qualifications  that  no  Monument  beyond  a  Middle  sized  Tablet 
with  a  small  and  simple  inscription  on  the  Church  Wall  or  on  the 
Flagstone  be  erected ;  I  say  this  because  I  know  the  Partial  kind- 
ness to  me  of  some  of  my  Friends,  but  I  have  had  in  my  life  time 
but  too  much  of  noise  and  compliment :  as  to  the  rest  it  is 
uncertain  what  I  shall  leave  after  the  Discharge  of  my  Debts 
which  when  I  write  this  are  very  great.  Be  that  as  it  may, 
my  Will  concerning  my  worldly  substance  is  short.  As  my 
entirely  beloved,  Faithful  &  affectionate  Wife  did  during 
the  whole  time  in  which  I  lived  most  happily  with  her  take 
on  her  the  charge  &  Management  of  my  affairs,  assisted  by 
her  son,  whilst  God  was  pleased  to  lend  him  to  us,  did  con- 
duct them  (often  in  a  state  of  much  derangement  and  embar- 
rassment) with  a  patience  and  prudence  which  probably  have 
no  example,  &  thereby  left  my  Mind  free  to  prosecute  my 
publick  duty  or  my  Studies  or  to  indulge  in  my  relaxations  or  to 
cultivate  my  friends  at  my  pleasure ;  so  on  my  Death  I  wish  things 
to  continue  as  substantially  they  have  always  been.  I  therefore 
by  this  my  last  and  only  Will  devise,  leave  &  bequeath  to  my 
entirely  beloved  and  incomparable  Wife,  Jane  Mary  Burke,  the 
whole  real  Estate  of  which  I  shall  die  seized,  whether  Lands, 
Rents  or  Houses,  in  absolute  Fee  simple ;  as  also  all  my  Personal 
Estate,  whether  Stock,  Furniture,  Plate,  Money  or  Securities  for 
Money  Annuities  for  lives  or  Years,  be  the  said  Estate  of  what 
nature,  Quality,  extent  or  description  it  may  be,  to  her  sole  uncon- 


ANCIENT,   CURIOUS,   AND  FAMOUS  WILLS      263 

trolled  Possession  &  disposal,  as  her  property  in  any  manner 
which  may  seem  proper  to  her  to  possess  or  to  dispose  of  the  same 
(whether  it  be  real  Estate  or  Personal  Estate)  by  her  last  will  or 
otherwise ;  it  being  my  intention  that  she  may  have  as  clear  and 
uncontrolled  a  right  and  Title  thereto  and  therein  as  I  possess 
myself  as  to  the  use,  expenditure.  Sale  or  devise.  I  hope  these 
Words  are  sufficient  to  express  the  absolute  and  unconditioned, 
unlimited  right  of  compleat  Ownership.  I  mean  to  give  to  her 
the  said  Lands  and  Goods  and  I  trust  that  no  words  of  surplusage 
or  ambiguity  may  vitiate  this  my  clear  intention ;  there  are  no 
persons  who  have  a  right  or  I  believe  a  disposition  to  complain 
of  this  bequest  which  I  have  only  weighed  and  made  on  a  proper 
consideration  of  my  Duties  and  the  relations  in  which  I  stand.  I 
also  make  my  wife,  Jane  Mary  Burke,  aforesaid,  my  sole  Execu- 
trix of  this  my  last  Will,  knowing  that  she  will  receive  advice  and 
assistance  from  her  and  my  excellent  Friends  D-  Walker  King 
&  D^  Lawrence,  to  whom  I  recommend  her  &  her  concerns,  though 
that  perhaps  is  needless,  as  they  are  as  much  attached  to  her  as 
they  are  to  me.  I  do  it  only  to  mark  my  special  Confidence  in 
their  affection.  Skill  and  Industry.  I  wish  that  my  Dear  Wife 
may,  as  soon  after  my  Decease  as  Possible  (which  after  what  has 
happened  she  will  see  with  Constancy  and  resignation),  make  her 
last  will  with  the  advice  and  assistance  of  the  two  persons  I  have 
named;  but  it  is  my  wish  also  that  she  will  not  think  herself  so 
bound  up  by  any  bequests  she  may  make  in  the  said  Will  & 
which  whilst  she  lives  can  be  only  intentions,  as  not  dur- 
ing her  life  to  use  her  property  with  all  the  Liberty  I  have 
given  her  over  it,  just  as  if  she  had  written  no  Will  at  all 
but  in  everything  to  follow  the  directions  of  her  own  Equi- 
table and  Charitable  Mind  and  her  own  prudent  and  meas- 
ured understanding.  Having  thus  committed  every  thing  to 
her  Discretion  I  recommend  (subject  always  to  that  Discretion) 
that  if  I  should  not  during  my  life  give  or  secure  to  my  Dear  Niece, 
Mary  C.  Hahland,  wife  of  my  worthy  Friend,  Capt°  Hairland,  the 
sum  of  a  thousand  pound  or  an  Annuity  equivalent  to  it,  that  she 
would  bestow  upon  her  that  Sum  of  Money  or  Annuity  Condi- 
tioned and  limited  in  such  manner  as  she,  my  Wife  aforesaid,  may 
think  proper  by  a  Devise  in  her  Will  or  otherwise,  as  she  may  find 
most  convenient  to  the  situation  of  her  affairs  without  pressure 
upon  her  during  her  life ;  my  Wife  put  me  in  Mind  of  this  which 
I  now  recommend  to  her;    I  certainly  some  years  ago  gave  my 


264      ANCIENT,  CURIOUS,  AND  FAMOUS  WILLS 

Niece  reason  to  expect  it  but  I  was  not  able  to  execute  my  inten- 
tions. If  I  do  this  in  my  life  time  this  recommendation  goes  for 
nothing.  As  to  my  other  Friends,  Relations,  and  Companions 
through  Life,  and  especially  to  the  Friends  and  Companions  of 
my  Son,  who  were  the  dearest  of  mine,  I  am  not  unmindful  of  what 
I  owe  them,  if  I  do  not  name  them  all  here  and  mark  them  with 
tokens  of  my  Remembrance  I  hope  they  will  not  attribute  it  to 
unkindness  or  to  a  want  of  a  due  Sense  of  their  Merits  towards  me. 
My  old  Friend  and  Faithful  Companion,  Will.  Burke,  knows  his 
place  in  my  heart.  I  do  not  mention  him  as  Executor  or  Assistant. 
I  know  that  he  will  attend  to  my  Wife,  but  I  chose  the  two  I  have 
mentioned  as  from  their  time  of  Life  of  greater  activity.  I  recom- 
mend him  to  them.  In  the  Pohtical  World  I  have  made  many  con- 
nections and  some  of  them  amongst  persons  of  high  rank;  their 
Friendship  from  political  became  personal  to  me  and  they  have 
shewn  it  in  a  manner  more  than  to  satisfie  the  utmost  demands  that 
could  be  made  from  my  love  &  sincere  attachment  to  them.  They 
are  the  worthiest  people  in  the  Kingdom;  their  intentions  are 
excellent,  and  I  wish  them  every  kind  of  success.  I  bequeath  my 
brother  in  law,  John  Nugent,  &  the  friends  in  my  poor  Sons  list, 
which  is  in  his  Mother's  hands,  to  their  protection  as  to  them  & 
to  the  rest  of  my  Companions  who  constantly  Honoured  and  Cheered 
our  House  as  our  Inmates  I  have  put  down  their  names  in  a  list 
that  my  Wife  should  send  them  the  usual  remembrance  of  little 
Mourning  Rings  as  a  token  of  my  remembrance.  In  speaking  of 
my  Friends  to  whom  I  owe  so  many  obligations  I  ought  to  name 
specially  Lord  Fitzwilliam,  the  Duke  of  Portland  and  the  Lord 
Cavendishes  with  the  D.  of  Devonshire  the  worthy  head  of  that 
Family.  If  the  intimacy  which  I  have  had  with  others  has  been 
broken  off  by  a  Political  Difference  on  great  Questions  concerning 
the  State  of  things  existing  and  impending,  I  hope  they  will  forgive 
whatever  of  general  human  Infirmity  or  of  my  own  particular 
Infirmity  has  entered  into  that  contention.  I  heartily  entreat 
their  forgiveness.  I  have  nothing  Further  to  say.  Signed  & 
Sealed  as  my  last  Will  and  Testament  this  11*^  day  of  August, 
1794  being  written  all  with  my  own  hand.  Edm.  Burke  —  in  the 
presence  of  —  Dupont  —  William  —  Webster  —  Walker  &  King. 

"  In  reading  over  the  above  Will  I  have  nothing  to  add  or  essen- 
tially to  alter  but  one  point  may  want  to  be  perfected  &  explained. 
In  leaving  my  Lands  and  Heredits  to  my  wife  I  find  that  I  have 
omitted  the  Words  which  in  Deeds  Create  an  Inheritance  in  Law. 


ANCIENT,   CURIOUS,  AND  FAMOUS  WILLS      265 

Now  tho'  I  think  them  hardly  necessary  in  a  Will  yet  to  obviate  all 
doubts  I  explain  the  matter  in  a  Codicil  which  is  annexed  to  this 
—  (sic)  22  1797.  —  Edm.  Burke. 

"  I  Edm.  Burke  of  the  parish  of  Beaconsfield,  in  the  county  of 
Bucks,  being  of  sound  and  disposing  Judgment  and  Memory,  make 
this  my  last  will  and  testament,  in  no  sort  revoking  but  explaining 
&  confirming  a  Will  made  by  me  and  dated  the  eleventh  of  August, 
in  which  will  I  have  left,  Devised  and  Bequeathed  all  my  estate 
of  whatever  nature  and  Quality  the  same  may  be.  Whether  lands. 
Tenements,  Houses,  Freehold  or  Leasehold,  Interests,  Pensions 
for  lives  or  years,  Arrears  of  the  same.  Legacies  or  other  debts  due 
to  me ;  Plate,  Household  Stuff,  Books,  Stock  in  Cattle  &  Horses  & 
utensils  of  Farming  &  all  other  my  Goods  and  Chattels  to  my  dear 
Wife  I :  M :  Burke  in  as  full  &  perfect  manner  as  the  same  might 
be  Devised,  Conveyed  or  transferred  to  her  by  any  Act  or  Instru- 
ment whatsoever;  with  such  recommendations  as  in  my  Will 
aforesaid  are  made  &  with  a  wish  that  in  the  discharge  of  my 
Debts  the  course  hitherto  pursued  may  be  as  nearly  as  possible 
observed.  Sensible  however  that  in  payment  of  Debt  no  exact  rule 
can  be  preserved;  the  same  is  therefore  left  to  her  Discretion, 
with  the  advice  of  our  Friends  whom  she  will  naturally  Consult. 
The  reason  of  my  making  this  will  or  Codicil  to  my  former  Will  is 
from  my  having  omitted  in  devising  by  that  Will  my  Lands  and 
Heredits  to  my  Wife  aforesaid,  the  full  and  absolute  Property 
thereof  &  therein  I  have  omitted  the  legal  Words  of  Inheritance. 
Now  tho'  I  think  those  words  however  necessary  in  a  Deed  are 
not  so  in  a  Will,  yet  to  prevent  all  Question,  I  do  hereby  devise 
all  my  Lands  Tenements  and  Heredits  as  well  as  all  other  property 
that  may  be  subject  to  a  strict  Rule  of  Law  in  Deeds  &  which  would 
pass  if  left  undevised  to  my  Heirs.  I  say  I  do  devise  the  same 
Lands  tenements  and  Hereditaments  to  my  Wife,  Jane  Mary 
Burke,  and  her  Heirs  for  ever  in  pure  absolute  and  unconditional 
Fee  simple.  I  have  now  only  to  recommend  to  the  kindness  of 
my  Lord  Chancellor  L^.  Loughborough,  to  his  Grace  the  Duke  of 
Portland,  to  the  most  Honorable  the  Marquiss  of  Buckingham,  to 
the  R-  Honble  W"^  Windham  &  to  D^  Lawrence  of  the  Commons 
and  Member  of  Parliament,  that  they  will  after  my  death  continue 
their  Protection  and  favour  to  the  Emigrant  School  at  Penn  & 
will  entreat,  with  a  weight  on  which  I  dare  not  presume,  the  R- 
Hon.  W''^  Pitt  to  continue  the  necessary  allowances  which  he  has 
so  generously  and  charitably  Provided  for  those  unhappy  Children 


266      ANCIENT,  CURIOUS,  AND  FAMOUS  WILLS 

of  Meritorious  Parents ;  that  they  will  superintend  the  same,  which 
I  wish  to  be  under  the  more  Immediate  care  and  direction  of  D"^ 
King  and  D-  Lawrence,  &  that  they  will  be  pleased  to  exert  their 
influence  to  place  the  said  young  Persons  in  some  Military  Corps 
or  other  Service  as  may  best  suit  their  dispositions  &  Capacities, 
Praying  God  to  bless  their  endeavours.  Signed  and  sealed  as  a 
Codicil  to  my  Will  or  a  Confirmation  and  Explanation  thereof 
agreeably  to  the  Note  which  some  days  ago  I  put  to  the  end  of  it. 
This  29  January  1797.  Edm  :  Burke,  in  the  presence  of  —  Walker 
King  —  Rich-  Bourke  —  Ed  :  Nagle." 

Will  of  Queen  Caroline 

The  will  of  Queen  Caroline  was  drawn  up  by  her  directions  on 
Sunday,  the  5th  day  of  August,  1821,  within  a  few  days  of  her 
death.  It  appears  that  on  this  same  day  she  sent  for  the  under- 
taker, by  name  Busch,  to  measure  her  for  her  coffin.  Finding  he 
did  not  come,  she,  a  second  time,  ordered  a  servant  to  go  for  him, 
and  then  gave  precise  orders  desiring  it  might  be  made  of  cedar- 
wood,  and  that  it  should  bear  this  inscription : 

CAROLINE   OF   BRUNSWICK, 

Born  17th  May,  1768, 

Died  7th  August,  1821. 

Aged  54. 

The  outraged  Queen  of  England. 

This  desire  she  again  mentioned  by  a  special  codicil  to  her  will. 

As  the  remains  of  this  princess  were  to  be  buried  at  Brunswick, 
on  the  arrival  of  the  coffin  at  Colchester,  it  was  deposited  in  the 
chapel  for  the  night,  with  a  guard  of  honor  to  watch  it.  During 
this  time,  it  appears,  the  executors,  and  some  others  who  formed 
the  cortege  in  attendance  —  Lord  Hood,  Sir  Robert  Wilson,  Count 
Vassali,  Messrs.  Lushington,  Wilde,  and  others  —  managed  to  in- 
troduce themselves  into  the  chapel  by  night,  and  caused  the  plate 
in  question  to  be  nailed  on. 

On  the  following  morning,  however,  much  to  the  discomfiture 
of  these  gentlemen,  and  notwithstanding  their  protestations,  this 
was  removed  and  was  replaced  by  the  following,  drawn  up  by  an 
heraldic  council  and  approved  by  the  Government : 

"Depositum  serenissimse  principissse  Carolinae  Amelise  Eliza- 
bethae,   Dei   gratia   reginse   consortis   augustissimae,   potentissimi 


ANCIENT,   CURIOUS,  AND  FAMOUS  WILLS      267 

monarchse   Georgii  quarti,   Dei   gratia   Britanniarum   regis,   fidei 
defensoris,  regis  Hanovriae  ac  Brunsvici  et  Luneburgi  ducis.     Obiit 
vii.  die  mensis  Augusti,  Anno  Domini  mdeccxxi.  setatis  liv." 
And  it  so  remains. 

Will  of  Lord  Chesterfield 

One  of  the  most  prominent  of  those  whose  wills  were  proved  in 
1773  was  the  "great"  Lord  Chesterfield,  the  arbiter  on  all  matters 
of  politeness,  whose  famous  "Advice  to  his  Son"  was  so  summarily 
criticised  by  Dr.  Johnson.  This  "first  gentleman  in  Europe" 
of  his  day,  left  the  bulk  of  his  property  to  his  godson,  Philip 
Stanhope,  with  a  very  unfashionable  and  unpalatable  restriction : 
"The  several  devises  and  bequests  hereinbefore  and  hereinafter 
given  by  me  to  and  in  favour  of  my  said  godson  Philip  Stanhope, 
shall  be  subject  to  the  condition  and  restriction  hereinafter  men- 
tioned ;  that  is  to  say,  that,  in  case  my  said  godson  Philip  Stanhope 
shall  at  any  time  hereafter  keep,  or  be  concerned  in  the  keeping  of, 
any  race-horse  or  race-horses,  or  pack  or  packs  of  hounds,  or  reside 
one  night  at  Newmarket,  that  infamous  seminary  of  iniquity  and 
ill-manners  during  the  course  of  the  races  there,  or  shall  resort 
to  the  said  races,  or  shall  lose  in  any  one  day  at  any  game  or  bet 
whatsoever  the  sum  of  £500,  then,  and  in  any  of  the  cases  aforesaid, 
it  is  my  express  Will,  that  he  my  said  godson  shall  forfeit  and  pay 
out  of  my  estate  the  sum  of  £5000  to  and  for  the  use  of  the  Dean 
and  Chapter  of  Westminster,  for  every  such  offence  or  misdemean- 
our as  is  above  specified,  to  be  recovered  by  action  for  debt  in  any 
of  his  Majesty's  Courts  of  Record  at  Westminster." 

Will  of  John  Dryden 

John  Dryden,  of  Ashbye,  Northampton,  died  in  1684.  He  left 
the  following  curious  preamble  to  his  will : 

"I,  John  Dryden,  of  Ashbye,  in  the  county  of  Northampton, 
gentleman,  doe  make  and  ordeyne  my  last  will  and  testament  in 
manner  following :  First,  I  bequeathe  my  soule  to  Almightie  God 
my  Creator,  by  the  merits  of  whose  son  Jesus  Christe,  my  Savior 
and  Redeemer,  I  doe  believe  to  be  saved,  the  Holy  Ghost  assuring 
my  spirit  that  I  am  the  elect  of  God.  My  bodie  to  be  buried  in 
the  church  of  Ashbye,  and  although  I  doe  not  allow  of  pompe  in 
burialls,  yet,  for  some  reasonable  considerations,  I  will  that  the 
stone  I  have  allready  prepared  shall  be  layde  upon  my  grave,  and 


268      ANCIENT,   CURIOUS,  AND  FAMOUS  WILLS 

my  arms  and  my  wyve's  graven  in  brass  thereupon.  Notwith- 
standing, if  God  call  mee  far  from  Ashbye,  then  should  it  yet  be 
thought  necessary  to  my  executors  to  bring  me  hither,  I  refer  that 
to  their  discressions,  and  soe  doe  I  the  place  of  my  buriall,  whether 
in  the  place  aforesaiyde  or  in  the  churchyard,  or  els  in  the  church." 

Will  of  Edward  IV 

It  is  almost  certain  that  Edward  IV  left  a  will,  but  it  has  never 
been  discovered.  The  editors  of  the  royal  wills  rationally  con- 
jecture that  it  was  destroyed  during  the  usurpation  of  his  brother, 
Richard  III,  as  it  has  never  been  found. 


Will  of  Sir  Charles  Fellowes 

Sir  Charles  Fellowes,  the  author  and  antiquarian,  died  in  1860. 
He  left  by  his  will  Milton's  watch  to  the  British  Museum.  His 
wife,  who  died  in  March,  1874,  left  her  collection  of  watches 
(many  of  which  had  belonged  to  celebrities)  to  the  same  institution. 

Will  of  Lord  Edward  Fitzgerald 

The  will  of  this  unfortunate  nobleman  was  made  under  very 
singular  circumstances,  after  he  was  mortally  wounded  in  the 
desperate  struggle  with  Major  Sirr,  and  while  in  conj&nement  in 
Newgate,  Dublin,  where,  whatever  his  political  errors,  he  seems  to 
have  been  treated  with  needless  severity. 

"Even  for  the  purpose  of  drawing  up  his  will,  which  he  wrote 
on  the  26th  May,  1798,"  says  Moore,  "no  person  at  all  connected 
with  his  own  family  was  allowed  to  have  access  to  him,  and  Mr. 
John  Leeson,  who  executed  the  instrument,  sat  in  a  carriage  at  the 
door  of  the  prison,  while  Mr.  Stewart,  the  government  surgeon, 
communicated  between  him  and  the  prisoner  during  the  trans- 
action." 

"I,  Lord  Edward  Fitzgerald,  do  make  this  as  my  last  will  and 
testament,  hereby  revoking  all  others ;  that  is  to  say,  I  leave  all 
estates,  of  whatever  sort  I  may  die  possessed  of,  to  my  wife,  Lady 
(Pamela)  Fitzgerald,  as  a  mark  of  my  esteem,  love,  and  confidence 
in  her,  for  and  during  her  natural  life,  and  on  her  death  to  descend, 
share  and  share  alike,  to  my  children,  or  the  survivors  of  them; 
she  maintaining  and  educating  the  children  according  to  her  dis- 


ANCIENT,   CURIOUS,   AND  FAMOUS  WILLS     269 

cretion ;  and  I  constitute  her  the  executrix  of  this  my  last  will  and 
testament. 

"Signed,  sealed,  and  delivered.  May  the  26,  1798. 

"In  presence  of Alexander  Lindsay. 

"George  Stewart. 
"Samuel  Stone." 

Will  of  Garrick 

David  Garrick,  who  was  born  at  Hereford  in  1716,  was  origi- 
nally intended  for  business,  and  consequently  was  sent  to  an  uncle 
settled  at  Lisbon  as  a  merchant,  but  showing  no  aptitude  for  this 
calling  nor  yet  for  the  law,  to  which  he  applied  himself  subsequently, 
he  plunged  into  the  life  of  a  comedian,  and  first  appeared  at  Ips- 
wich in  1741.  In  October  of  the  same  year,  however,  he  came  out 
in  London,  and  obtained  great  success  at  one  of  the  small  theaters 
in  the  character  of  Richard  HI.  In  1742  he  went  to  Dublin,  where 
he  was  enthusiastically  received,  and  thence  returned  to  London, 
where  his  fame  and  fortune  were  shortly  made.  At  length,  in 
1747,  he  was  able  to  purchase  Drury  Lane  Theatre,  obtained  a 
renewal  of  its  pri^'ileges,  and  retained  the  management  for  nearly 
twenty  years ;  for  on  the  10th  of  June,  1776,  he  took  leave  of  the 
public,  and  retired  after  obtaining  £2200  for  what  had  originally 
cost  him  £320.  His  withdrawal  from  the  stage  was  universally 
and  profoundly  deplored;  he  only  survived  his  retirement  three 
years,  but  he  died  full  of  honors  and  possessed  of  considerable 
wealth.  His  death  took  place  in  London  on  Wednesday,  20th  of 
January,  1779. 

The  stir  made  by  his  funeral  was  surprising,  but  scarcely  greater 
than  that  produced  in  Paris  a  century  later,  at  the  interment  of 
Dejazet :  the  procession  was  formed  by  seventy  mourning-coaches, 
twenty-four  of  which  were  filled  by  the  elite  of  English  society. 
Arrived  at  Westminster  Abbey,  the  corpse  was  met  by  the  Chapter ; 
the  Bishop  of  Rochester  officiated,  and  the  remains  of  Garrick  were 
interred  close  to  the  monument  of  Shakespeare. 

There  is  nothing  remarkable  in  his  will,  which  disposes  of  his 
fortune  in  a  spirit  of  fairness,  liberality,  and  benevolence.  It  was 
made  the  year  previous  to  his  death  : 

"I,  David  Garrick,  at  this  present  occupying  my  house  in  the 
Adelphi,  do  deposit  in  the  hands  of  Lord  Camden,  of  the  Right 
Hon.  Richard  Rigby,  of  John  Patterson,  and  of  Albany  Wallis, 
Esquires,  my  house  at  Hampton-on-the-Thames,  in  the  county  of 


270      ANCIENT,   CURIOUS,  AND  FAMOUS  WILLS 

Middlesex,  with  the  two  islands  dependent  thereon,  the  temple  and 
the  statue  of  Shakespeare,  my  house  in  the  Adelphi,  with  the  furni- 
ture and  pictures  contained  in  the  two  said  houses,  to  be  delivered 
up  to  Eva  Maria  Garrick,  my  wife,  in  order  that  she  may  enjoy  the 
same  during  her  natural  life,  and  that  she  may  reside  there, 

"I  give  and  bequeath  to  my  said  wife  all  my  linen,  plate, 
china,  horses,  carriages,  and  wine  that  may  be  contained  in  my 
cellars  in  both  my  houses. 

"I  give  her  furthermore  £1000,  payable  immediately  after  my 
decease,  and  £5000  payable  a  year  after. 

"I  give  and  bequeath  to  my  said  wife  £1500  per  annum  dur- 
ing the  term  of  her  natural  hfe,  and  as  long  as  she  shall  reside  in 
either  of  my  before- mentioned  houses,  and  £1000  should  she  quit 
England  and  settle  whether  in  Scotland  or  Ireland. 

"I  give  and  bequeath  to  my  nephew,  David  Garrick,  the  dwell- 
ing-house, farms,  garden,  and  tenements  and  lands  situated  at 
Hampton,  save  and  except  that  bequeathed  to  my  wife. 

"I  deposit  in  the  hands  of  my  said  executors  the  freehold  of 
Hendon,  with  my  right  and  patronage  over  the  church  of  the 
said  freehold,  with  directions  to  sell  it,  and  to  employ  the  produce 
according  to  my  hereinafter-mentioned  desires. 

"  I  give,  after  the  decease  of  my  wife,  the  statue  of  Shakespeare 
and  my  collection  of  old  plays  to  the  British  Museum. 

"I  give  to  my  nephew,  Carrington  Garrick,  the  rest  of  my 
library,  with  the  exception  of  books  to  the  value  of  £100  in  favour 
of  my  wife  and  at  her  choice. 

"I  give  to  the  institution  estabUshed  for  the  rehef  of  impov- 
erished actors,  the  houses  I  bought  along  with  Drury  Lane 
Theatre. 

"I  give  to  my  brother,  George  Garrick,  £10,000;  to  my  brother 
Peter,  £3000 ;  to  my  nephew  Carrington  Garrick,  £6000 ;  to  my 
nephew  David  Garrick,  besides  the  dowry  I  agreed  to  pay  him 
on  the  day  of  his  marriage,  the  sum  of  £5000. 

"I  deposit  in  the  hands  of   my  executors   the  sum  of  £6000 

in   favour  of   my  niece   Arabella   Shaw,   wife  of   Captain  Shaw. 

"I  give  to  my  niece,  Catherine  Garrick,  the  sum  of  £6000,  to  be 

paid  to  her  on  the  day  on  which  she  shall  marry  or  attain  her 

majority. 

"  I  give  to  my  sister,  Mercia  Doxey,  the  sum  of  £5000 ;  and  to  the 
niece  of  my  wife  actually  residing  with  us  at  Hampton,  the  sum  of 
£1000. 


ANCIENT,   CURIOUS,   AND   FAMOUS  WILLS      271 

"Should  the  above-named  legacies  exceed  the  fund  assigned  to 
their  payment,  each  legatee  shall  submit  to  a  reduction  in  his 
legacy,  proportioned  to  its  amount,  until  the  death  of  my  wife; 
after  that  event,  and  on  the  sale  of  Hampton,  the  sums  thus  with- 
held shall  be  made  up  out  of  the  amount  produced  by  that  sale. 

"Should  there,  on  the  other  hand,  be  more  than  sufficient  to 
cover  these  legacies,  I  will  that  such  surplus  be  divided  in  equal 
portions  among  my  nearest  relations  according  to  the  order  ob- 
served with  those  who  die  intestate. 

"In  pursuance  of  this  my  last  will,  I  name  the  within-mentioned 
my  executors,  and  in  token  thereof  I  here  sign  and  seal  this  docu- 
ment with  my  arms  this  24th  day  of  September,  1778. 

"(Signed)         David  Garrick. 
"Sic  transit  gloria  mundi." 

By  this  testament  it  appears  that  David  Garrick,  the  portion- 
less son  of  a  half-pay  captain,  had  earned  by  his  own  unaided 
talents  a  fortune  amounting  in  money  to  nearly  £50,000,  besides 
his  superb  estate  at  Hampton,  with  its  islands,  farms,  orchards, 
and  appurtenances ;  his  property  at  Hendon ;  his  houses  in  Lon- 
don ;  the  theatre  at  Drury  Lane ;  his  costly  furniture,  valuable 
plate,  china,  wines,  library,  statues,  pictures,  and  other  works  of 
art,  horses,  carriages,  etc. 

When  we  compare  this  splendid  fortune  with  that  of  Shakespeare, 
who  could  only  leave  to  his  wife  his  "second  best  bed,  with  the 
furniture,"  we  are  tempted  to  wonder  why  the  fickle  goddess 
should  have  so  much  more  highly  favored  him  who  exhibited  the 
fruits  of  genius  than  him  who  produced  them. 

Will  of  Lord  Hailes 

Lord  Hailes  (Sir  David  Dairy mple),  a  Lord  of  Session,  appointed 
in  1766,  died  in  1792,  apparently  without  a  will.  Great  search 
was  made,  no  testamentary  paper  could  be  discovered,  the  heir-at- 
law  was  about  to  take  possession  of  his  estates,  to  the  exclusion  of 
his  daughter  and  only  child,  and  Miss  Dalrymple  prepared  to 
retire  from  New  Hailes,  and  from  the  mansion-house  in  New  Street. 
Some  of  her  domestics,  however,  were  sent  to  lock  up  the  house  in 
New  Street,  and,  in  closing  the  window-shutters,  there  dropped  out 
upon  the  floor,  from  behind  a  panel.  Lord  Hailes'  will,  which  was 
found  to  secure  her  in  the  possession  of  his  estates. 


272      ANCIENT,   CURIOUS,  AND  FAMOUS  WILLS 

Will  of  Thomas  Hood,  the  Poet 

"  Devonshire  Lodge,  New  Finchley  Road, 

"  St.  John's  Wood,  February  7th,  1845. 

"It  is  my  last  Will  and  desire  that  'Nash's  Hall's'  be  given,  in 
my  name,  to  my  dear  William  and  Georgiana  Elliot,  in  recognition 
of  their  brotherly  and  sisterly  affection  and  kindness. 

"  My  'Knight's  Shakspeare's,'  for  a  like  reason,  to  dear  Robert 
EUiot. 

"  'Chaucer  or  Froissart,'  as  he  may  prefer,  to  F.  Reseigh  Ward, 
Harvey,  Phillips,  and  Hardman,  to  select  a  book  apiece  for  re- 
membrance. 

"  'Nimrod's  Sporting'  to  Philip  de  Franck. 
"  All  else  that  I  possess,  I  give  and  bequeath  to  my  dear  wife,  to 
be  used  for  her  benefit  and  that  of  our  dear  children,  whom  God 
bless,  guide  and  preserve. 

"  With  my  farewell  love  and  blessing, 
"  To  all  friends, 

"  Thomas  Hood." 
Will  of  Lord  Howden 

Hamilton  v.  Delias.  —  Before  Vice-Chancellor  Sir  James  Bacon. 
—  The  loss,  vexation,  and  complexity  so  frequently  occasioned  by 
intestacy,  was  in  a  partial  measure  manifested  by  the  lapse  in  the 
will  of  the  late  Lord  Howden,  and  serves  in  good  stead  to  show  how 
guarded  persons  should  be  to  see,  not  only  that  they  leave  a  properly 
prepared  and  executed  will,  but  likewise  that  no  lapse  is  left  un- 
supplied.  In  the  case  of  Lord  Howden,  although  the  lapse  was 
only  trifling,  considering  the  vast  wealth  of  his  lordship,  yet  it  was 
represented  by  a  considerable  amount.  The  case  is  a  very  curious 
one,  as  Lord  Howden  held  a  very  high  status  in  England,  being  a 
peer  of  the  realm,  and  had  taken  the  oath  and  his  seat  in  the  House 
of  Lords ;  he  was  also  a  G.C.B.,  lieutenant-general  in  the  army, 
and  Deputy-Lieutenant  for  the  County  of  York.  Notwithstand- 
ing all  these  ties,  in  1850  he  sold  his  estate  at  Grimston  Park,  in 
Yorkshire,  and  all  his  real  estate  in  England,  and  went  to  Spain 
as  Minister  Plenipotentiary,  in  which  position  he  continued  till 
1857,  when  he  went  to  France,  and  resided  on  an  estate  near  Ba- 
yonne,  which  he  acquired  about  that  time,  and  where  he  built  a 
chateau  called  "Casa  Caradoc,"  in  which  he  generally  resided  up 
to  the  date  of  his  death.     In  1863  he  visited  Scotland,  and  then 


ANCIENT,   CURIOUS,  AND  FAMOUS  WILLS      273 

wrote  a  letter  declining  to  come  to  England,  and  expressing  his 
intention  of  never  doing  so  again ;  he  likewise,  in  certain  legal 
proceedings  taken  in  England,  claimed  to  be  domiciled  in 
France,  sine  animo  revertendi.  Lord  Howden  had  made  separate 
wills  relating  to  his  personal  property  in  England  and  in  France, 
and  the  confusion  arose  respecting  one-fourth  of  that  in  England, 
the  person  to  whom  it  had  been  bequeathed  having  died  during 
his  lordship's  lifetime.  The  question  was  to  whom  this  undisposed 
of  personalty  should  belong,  as  by  English  law  the  whole  of  it  would 
pass  to  Lady  Rose  Meade,  as  his  lordship's  nearest  relation  and  sole 
next-of-kin,  while,  according  to  French  law,  a  moiety  only  would 
pass  to  Lady  Rose  Meade,  who  was  his  lordship's  nearest  relation 
on  the  father's  side,  and  the  other  moiety  amongst  his  lordship's 
nearest  relations  on  the  mother's  side.  The  case  therefore  rested 
on  the  point,  whether  Lord  Howden's  domicile  was  English  or 
French  at  the  time  of  his  death,  and  the  Vice-Chancellor  said  that, 
in  the  absence  of  authority,  he  should  be  sorry  at  this  time  of  day 
to  decide  that  a  peer  could  not  take  up  his  permanent  residence 
abroad.  There  was  nothing  to  prevent  any  one,  be  he  peer  or 
peasant,  from  leaving  the  country  to  reside  abroad.  He  then  dis- 
tinguished the  cases  of  persons  actually  oflScers  in  the  army,  and 
the  cases  known  of  an  Anglo-Indian  domicile.  On  the  facts,  he 
said,  it  was  clear  that  Lord  Howden  had  acted  so  as  to  acquire  a 
French  domicile.  There  was  only  the  question  of  the  article  in 
the  Code  Napoleon,  which  clearly  only  related  to  the  acquisition 
of  civil  rights,  and  not  the  question  of  domicile  at  all.  He  there- 
fore declared  the  domicile  of  Lord  Howden  to  have  been  French. 


Will  of  Dr.  Samuel  Johnson 

Dr.  Samuel  Johnson  is  one  of  the  foremost  figures  in  English 
literature ;   his  will,  copied  by  Boswell,  is  an  interesing  document : 

"In  the  name  of  God,  Amen  !  I,  Samuel  Johnson,  being  in  full 
possession  of  my  faculties,  but  fearing  this  night  may  put  an  end 
to  my  life,  do  ordain  this  my  last  will  and  testament." 

This  will  was  written  the  8  day  of  December,  1784.  Sir  John 
Hawkins  and  the  distinguished  painter.  Sir  Joshua  Reynolds,  were 
executors.  A  codicil  written  on  December  9, 1784,  is  several  times 
the  length  of  the  will  written  the  day  before.  Both  in  the  will 
and  in  the  codicil,  Francis  Barber,  a  negro  man-servant,  is  made  the 
chief  beneficiary.     It  is  said  that  the  amount  received  by  Barber 


274      ANCIENT,   CURIOUS,   AND  FAMOUS  WILLS 

under  this  will,  exclusive  of  an  annuity  on  the  sum  of  $3750, 
was  about  ten  thousand  dollars.  A  copy  of  his  great  French  dic- 
tionary, as  well  as  a  copy  of  his  own  dictionary,  were  given  to  Sir 
Joshua  Reynolds.  A  striking  provision  in  Johnson's  will,  is  the 
following  clause : 

"  I  bequeath  to  God,  a  soul  polluted  by  many 
sins,  but  I  hope  purified  by  Jesus  Christ." 

The  celebrated  letter  written  by  Dr.  Johnson  to  Lord  Chester- 
field, from  a  point  of  combined  politeness,  satire,  and  irony,  has 
probably  never  been  surpassed,  and  was  doubtless  a  just  resentment 
of  the  treatment  he  had  received  from  his  patron.  The  date  of  this 
letter  is  given  by  Boswell  and  other  authorities,  as  February  7, 
1775 ;  the  true  date  is  1755,  for  it  was  in  that  year  that  his  Dic- 
tionary was  completed.     A  brief  history  of  this  letter  is  as  follows  : 

Boswell  in  his  "Life  of  Johnson,"  says  the  story  was  current 
that  the  great  philosopher  was  kept  waiting  in  Lord  Chesterfield's 
antechamber  upon  the  occasion  of  a  visit  to  him ;  that  Dr.  John- 
son was  violently  provoked  when  the  door  finally  opened,  and  out 
walked  Colley  Cibber,  an  English  actor  and  dramatist.  Johnson 
himself,  however,  told  Boswell  that  there  was  no  truth  in  this  story, 
but  that  during  his  years  of  struggle,  Lord  Chesterfield  had  studi- 
ously neglected  him.  When  the  Dictionary  was  on  the  eve  of  pub- 
lication, Lord  Chesterfield  attempted,  in  a  courtly  manner,  to 
conciliate  Dr.  Johnson  by  writing  two  articles  in  The  World,  a 
leading  London  paper,  in  commendation  of  the  work ;  the  courtly 
device  failed  of  its  effect. 

Johnson  said  to  Boswell,  "Sir,  after  making  great  professions, 
he  had,  for  many  years,  taken  no  notice  of  me ;  but  when  my  Dic- 
tionary was  coming  out,  he  fell  a  scribbling  in  The  World  about  it. 
Upon  which  I  wrote  him  a  letter  expressed  in  civil  terms,  but  such 
as  might  show  him  that  I  did  not  mind  what  he  said  or  wrote,  and 
that  I  had  done  with  him."  And,  he  added,  "This  man,  I  thought 
had  been  a  lord  among  wits,  but  I  find,  he  is  only  a  wit  among 
lords."     The  letter  follows : 

"To  THE  Right  Honourable  the  Earl  of  Chesterfield 

"February  7,  1755. 
"My  Lord, 

"I  have  been  lately  informed,  by  the  proprietor  of  The  World, 
that  two  papers,  in  which  my  Dictionary  is  recommended  to  the 


ANCIENT,   CURIOUS,   AND  FAMOUS  WILLS      275 

public,  were  written  by  your  lordship.  To  be  so  distinguished  is 
an  honour,  which,  being  very  little  accustomed  to  favours  from  the 
great,  I  know  not  well  how  to  receive,  or  in  what  terms  to  acknowl- 
edge. 

"When,  upon  some  slight  encouragement,  I  first  visited  your 
lordship,  I  was  overpowered,  like  the  rest  of  mankind,  by  the 
enchantment  of  your  address,  and  could  not  forbear  to  wish  that  I 
might  boast  myself  Le  vainqueiir  du  vainqueur  de  la  terre;  —  that  I 
might  obtain  that  regard  for  which  I  saw  the  world  contending; 
but  I  found  my  attendance  so  little  encouraged,  that  neither  pride 
nor  modesty  would  suffer  me  to  continue  it.  When  I  had  once 
addressed  your  lordship  in  public,  I  had  exhausted  all  the  art  of 
pleasing  which  a  retired  and  uncourtly  scholar  can  possess.  I  had 
done  all  that  I  could ;  and  no  man  is  well  pleased  to  have  his  all 
neglected,  be  it  ever  so  little. 

"Seven  years,  my  lord,  have  now  passed,  since  I  waited  in  your 
outward  rooms,  or  was  repulsed  from  your  door;  during  which 
time  I  have  been  pushing  on  my  work  through  difficulties,  of  which 
it  is  useless  to  complain,  and  have  brought  it,  at  last,  to  the  verge 
of  pubhcation,  without  one  act  of  assistance,  one  word  of  encour- 
agement, or  one  smile  of  favour.  Such  treatment  I  did  not  expect, 
for  I  never  had  a  patron  before. 

"  The  shepherd  in  '  Virgil '  grew  at  last  acquainted  with  Love,  and 
found  him  a  native  of  the  rocks. 

"Is  not  a  patron,  my  lord,  one  who  looks  with  unconcern  on  a 
man  struggling  for  life  in  the  water,  and,  when  he  has  reached 
ground,  encumbers  him  with  help  ?  The  notice  which  you  have 
been  pleased  to  take  of  my  labours,  had  it  been  early,  had  been 
kind;  but  it  has  been  delayed  till  I  am  indifferent,  and  cannot 
enjoy  it ;  till  I  am  solitary,  and  cannot  impart  it ;  till  I  am  known, 
and  do  not  want  it.  I  hope  it  is  no  very  cynical  asperity,  not  to 
confess  obligations  where  no  benefit  has  been  received,  or  to  be 
unwilling  that  the  public  should  consider  me  as  owing  that  to  a 
patron,  which  Providence  has  enabled  me  to  do  for  myself. 

"Having  carried  on  my  work  thus  far  with  so  little  obligation  to 
any  favourer  of  learning,  I  shall  not  be  disappointed  though  I 
shall  conclude  it,  if  less  be  possible,  with  less ;  for  I  have  been  long 
wakened  from  that  dream  of  hope,  in  which  I  once  boasted  myself 
with  so  much  exultation, 

"My  Lord,  your  lordship's  most  humble, 

"Most  obedient  servant, 

"Sam.  Johnson." 


276      ANCIENT,   CURIOUS,  AND  FAMOUS  WILLS 

Will  of  Mr.  George  Henry  Lewes 

The  will,  dated  November  21,  1859,  of  Mr.  George  Henry- 
Lewes,  the  celebrated  author,  formerly  of  Holly  Lodge,  South 
Fields,  Wandsworth,  but  late  of  The  Priory,  North  Bank,  Regent's 
Park,  who  died  on  November  20,  1879,  was  proved  by  Mary 
Ann  Evans,  the  sole  executrix,  the  personal  estate  being  sworn 
under  £2000.  The  testator  gives  to  his  three  sons,  Charles  Lee, 
Thornton  Amott,  and  Herbert  Arthur,  all  his  copyright  and  inter- 
est of  every  description  in  all  his  literary  and  dramatic  works,  and 
the  residue  of  his  real  and  personal  estate  to  his  executrix. 

Will  of  Maria  Cristina,  Queen  Dowager  of  Spain 

The  will  (dated  1874),  with  a  codicil  (dated  1875),  both  made  in 
Paris,  of  her  Majesty  the  Queen  Dona  Maria  Cristina  de  Borbon 
y  Borbon,  who  died  on  August  22,  1879,  in  France,  was  proved  in 
London.  The  personal  estate  in  England  is  sworn  under  £6000. 
The  testatrix  directs  that  5000  recited  masses  shall  be  performed  for 
her  soul,  5000  for  the  soul  of  her  late  husband,  1000  for  the  souls  of 
her  deceased  children,  and  500  for  the  souls  of  her  deceased  grand- 
children, to  be  performed  by  poor  priests  in  churches  to  be  selected 
by  her  executors,  the  alms  for  each  mass  to  be  ten  reals.  She  be- 
queaths money  to  the  needy  poor  and  sick  of  several  towns.  Spe- 
cial directions  are  given  as  to  her  numerous  papers ;  they  are  divided 
into  four  classes,  viz.  her  business  papers,  political  papers,  confiden- 
tial papers,  and  intimate  private  papers ;  her  secretary,  Don  An- 
tonio Maria  Rubio,  is  charged  with  the  arranging  of  them,  and  he  is 
to  deliver  the  papers  of  the  first  three  categories,  sealed  up,  to  her 
son,  Don  Fernando,  and  the  papers  of  the  last-named  category  to 
her  daughter.  Dona  Maria  Cristina,  also  sealed  up ;  they  are  not 
to  be  opened  until  the  expiration  of  forty  years  from  her  decease, 
and  the  testatrix  states  that  she  so  orders  not  for  her  own  sake  or 
from  any  want  of  confidence  in  her  children,  but  with  views  of 
delicacy  towards  the  many  persons  she  has  had  political  relation- 
ship with  during  her  long  and  checkered  career.  If  upon  examina- 
tion any  papers  are  found  among  her  own  property  belonging  to  her 
first  husband,  or  the  Government  of  Spain,  they  are  to  be  delivered 
to  her  august  daughter,  the  Queen  Isabella,  for  eventual  transmis- 
sion to  the  successor  of  her  first  husband  in  the  crown  of  Spain, 
"say  her  grandson  King  Alfonso." 


ANCIENT,   CURIOUS,  AND  FAMOUS  WILLS      277 

Will  of  Michael  Eyquem  de  Montaigne 

Montaigne,  the  celebrated  essayist  and  philosopher,  is  stated  to 
have  got  over  any  difficulties  in  the  way  of  carrying  out  his  testa- 
mentary intentions  by  the  happy  expedient  of  calling  all  the  per- 
sons named  in  his  will  around  his  deathbed,  and  counting  out  to 
them  severally  the  bequests  he  had  made  them.  Any  doubtful 
testator  might  usefully  follow  Montaigne's  example,  but  there 
is  always  the  risk  of  the  donor  getting  better,  and  finding  himself 
penniless.  A  small  farmer  in  Suffolk,  England,  being  very  ill, 
was  advised  by  his  affectionate  relatives  to  distribute  his  money, 
and  thus  save  legacy  duty.  He  did  so,  but  got  well  again ;  he  did 
not,  however,  recover  the  amount  he  had  distributed,  and  the  poor 
old  farmer  had  to  seek  relief  from  the  parish. 

Will  of  Napoleon 

In  Scott's  "Life  of  Napoleon  Buonaparte,"  published  in  1828,  is 
a  complete  copy  of  this  celebrated  document,  the  first  division  of 
which  is  as  follows  : 

"Napoleon. 

"This  15th  April,  1821,  at  Longwood,  Island  of  St.  Helena. 
This  is  my  Testament,  or  act  of  my  last  Will. 


"1.  I  die  in  the  apostolical  Roman  religion,  in  the  bosom  of 
which  I  was  born,  more  than  fifty  years  since. 

"  2.  It  is  my  wish  that  my  ashes  may  repose  on  the  banks  of  the 
Seine,  in  the  midst  of  the  French  people,  whom  I  have  loved  so  well. 

"  3.  I  have  always  had  reason  to  be  pleased  with  my  dearest 
wife,  Marie  Louise.  I  retain  for  her  to  my  last  moment,  the  most 
tender  sentiments  —  I  beseech  her  to  watch,  in  order  to  preserve 
my  son  from  the  snares  which  yet  environ  his  infancy. 

"  4.  I  recommend  to  my  son,  never  to  forget  that  he  was  born 
a  French  prince,  and  never  to  allow  himself  to  become  an  instru- 
ment in  the  hands  of  the  triumvirs  who  oppress  the  nations  of 
Europe ;  he  ought  never  to  fight  against  France,  or  to  injure  her  in 
any  manner ;  he  ought  to  adopt  my  motto  —  '  Everything  for  the 
French  people.' 

"  5.  I  die  prematurely,  assassinated  by  the  English  oligarchy.. 
.  .  .     The  English  nation  will  not  be  slow  in  avenging  me. 


278      ANCIENT,   CURIOUS,  AND  FAMOUS  WILLS 

"6.  The  two  unfortunate  results  of  the  invasions  of  France  when 
she  had  still  so  many  resources,  are  to  be  attributed  to  the  treason 
of  Marmont,  Augerau,  Talleyrand  and  La  Fayette. 

"  I  forgive  them  —  may  the  posterity  of  France  forgive  them  like 
me  ! 

"7.  I  thank  my  good  and  most  excellent  mother,  the  Cardinal, 
my  brothers  Joseph,  Lucien,  Jerome,  Pauline,  Caroline,  Julie, 
Hortense,  Catarine,  Eugenie,  for  the  interest  which  they  have 
continued  to  feel  for  me.  I  pardon  Louis  for  the  libel  which  he 
published  in  1820;  it  is  replete  with  false  assertions  and  falsified 
documents. 

"8.  I  disavow  the  '  Manuscript  of  St.  Helena,'  and  other  works, 
under  the  title  of  Maxims,  Sayings,  &c.,  which  persons  have  been 
pleased  to  publish  for  the  last  six  years.  These  are  not  the  rules 
which  have  guided  my  life.  I  caused  the  Due  d'Enghien  to  be 
arrested  and  tried,  because  that  step  was  essential  to  the  safety, 
interest,  and  honor  of  the  French  people,  when  the  Count  d'Artois 
was  maintaining,  by  his  confession,  sixty  assassins  at  Paris.  Under 
similar  circumstances,  I  would  act  in  the  same  way." 

In  the  second  division  of  the  will  are  thirty-five  bequests  to 
Buonaparte's  generals  and  others  who  had  been  associated  with  him 
the  whole  amounting  to  five  million  six  hundred  thousand  francs. 
He  says,  "These  sums  will  be  raised  from  the  six  millions  which  I 
deposited  on  leaving  Paris  in  1815 ;  and  from  the  interest,  at  the 
rate  of  five  per  cent,  since  July,  1815."  He  further  directs  that 
the  excess  of  five  million  six  hundred  thousand  francs  shall  be  dis- 
tributed as  a  gratuity  amongst  the  wounded  at  the  battle  of  Water- 
loo, and  others  of  his  soldiers ;  the  amounts  to  be  paid,  in  case  of 
death,  to  the  widows  and  children  of  the  legatees. 

In  the  third  division,  he  speaks  of  his  "private  domain  of  which 
no  French  law  can  deprive  me."  This  "private  domain,"  he  es- 
timates to  exceed  200,000,000  of  francs.  This  amount,  together 
with  his  plate,  jewels  and  other  property,  he  bequeaths,  one-half 
to  the  surviving  officers  and  soldiers  of  the  French  army  who  had 
fought  for  the  glory  and  independence  of  the  nation ;  the  distribu- 
tion to  be  made  in  proportion  to  their  appointments  in  active  ser- 
vice. He  appoints  Counts  Montholon,  Bertrand  and  Marchand 
the  executors  of  his  will. 

The  instrument  concludes:  "This  present  will,  wholly  written 
with  my  own  hand,  is  signed,  and  sealed  with  my  own  arms." 

Affixed  to  this  will  is  a  codicil  consisting  of  many  parts  and  nu- 


ANCIENT,   CURIOUS,  AND  FAMOUS  WILLS      279 

merous  items,  such  as  would  well  befit  the  great  Emperor  to  possess. 
The  minutest  detail  is  shown  in  an  itemized  statement  of  these  arti- 
cles. Among  others,  might  be  mentioned,  medals,  watches,  gold 
ornaments,  spurs,  libraries,  cravats,  daggers,  and  hundreds  of  other 
articles.  He  directed  Marchand  to  preserve  his  hair,  from  which 
bracelets  were  to  be  made,  to  be  sent  to  the  Empress  Marie  Louise, 
to  his  mother,  brothers,  sisters,  nephews,  nieces,  to  the  Cardinal, 
and  one  of  larger  size  to  his  son.  In  this  codicil  he  again  expresses 
the  wish  that  his  ashes  should  repose  on  the  banks  of  the  Seine  in 
the  midst  of  the  French  people  whom  he  loved  so  well. 

In  the  fourth  codicil,  Napoleon  gives  ten  thousand  francs  to  the 
subaltern  officer  Cantillon,  who  had  undergone  a  trial  on  the 
charge  of  having  endeavored  to  assassinate  the  Duke  of  Welling- 
ton, of  which  he  was  pronounced  innocent.  Napoleon  writes,  "  Can- 
tillon had  as  much  right  to  assassinate  that  oligarchist,  as  the  latter 
had  to  send  me  to  perish  upon  the  rock  of  St.  Helena." 

In  the  fifth  codicil  to  the  will  is  a  reference  to  Empress  Marie 
Louise,  "my  very  dear  and  well  beloved  spouse."  He  adds,  "This 
is  my  codicil,  or  act  of  my  last  will,  the  execution  of  which  I  recom- 
mend to  my  dearest  wife,  the  Empress  Marie  Louise." 

There  are  seven  codicils  to  this  will,  all  written  at  Longwood,  by 
his  own  hand,  the  last  being  dated  the  25th  day  of  April,  1821. 
Ten  days  after  writing  this  codicil,  he  died,  May  5,  1821. 

Napoleon's  deep  affection  for  his  son,  Frangois  Charles,  is  evi- 
denced throughout  the  will  by  numerous  bequests,  comprising  the 
greater  part  of  his  personal  belongings  and  articles  that  he  most 
prized. 

He  also  evinced  great  solicitude  for  his  generals  and  those  who 
were  with  him  in  his  many  campaigns,  which  is  manifested  by  the 
gifts  to  them,  not  only  in  his  will,  but  in  several  of  the  codicils 
thereto. 

The  instrument,  though  of  the  very  greatest  interest,  is  too 
lengthy  to  be  fully  set  out.  The  reader  is  referred  to  Scott's  "Life 
of  Napoleon  Buonaparte"  for  the  details  of  this  famous  will. 
The  death  of  the  Duke  of  Reichstadt,  July  22,  1832,  only  son  of 
the  first  Napoleon,  left  Louis  Napoleon  the  representative  of  his 
family.  He  was  elected  President  of  France  in  1848  and  promised 
to  restore  its  glories.  It  is  said  that  many  of  the  legacies  mentioned 
in  his  uncle's  will  were  paid  by  him. 


280      ANCIENT,   CURIOUS,  AND  FAMOUS  WILLS 

Will  of  Lord  Nelson 

The  battle  of  Trafalgar  was  fought  October  21,  1805.  At  day- 
light Nelson  hoisted  the  signal,  "England  expects  every  man  to 
do  his  duty,"  and  gave  the  order  to  close  in  and  the  game  of 
death  began.  Each  side  had  made  a  move.  Nelson  retired  to  his 
cabin  and  wrote  the  following  codicil  to  his  will : 

"  October  21st,  1805.  —  In  sight  of  the  combined  fleets  of  France 
and  Spain,  distance  about  ten  miles.  Whereas  the  eminent  ser- 
vices of  Emma  Hamilton,  widow  of  the  Right  Honourable  Sir 
William  Hamilton,  have  been  of  the  very  greatest  service  to  my 
king  and  country,  to  my  knowledge,  without  ever  receiving  any 
reward  from  either  our  king  or  country.  First:  That  she  ob- 
tained the  King  of  Spain's  letter,  in  1796,  to  his  brother,  the  King  of 
Naples,  acquainting  him  of  his  intention  to  declare  war  against 
England :  from  which  letter  the  ministry  sent  out  orders  to  the 
then  Sir  John  Jervis  to  strike  a  stroke,  if  the  opportunity  offered, 
against  either  the  arsenals  of  Spain  or  her  fleets.  That  neither  of 
these  was  done  is  not  the  fault  of  Lady  Hamilton :  the  oppor- 
tunity might  have  been  offered. 

"Secondly:  The  British  fleet  under  my  command  could  never 
have  returned  the  second  time  in  Egypt,  had  not  Lady  Hamilton's 
influence  with  the  Queen  of  Naples  caused  a  letter  to  be  written  to 
the  Governor  of  Syracuse,  that  he  was  to  encourage  the  fleet 
being  supplied  with  everything,  should  they  put  into  any  port  in 
Sicily.  We  put  into  Syracuse,  and  received  every  supply ;  went  to 
Egypt  and  destroyed  the  French  fleet.  Could  I  have  rewarded 
these  services,  I  would  not  now  call  upon  my  country ;  but  as  that 
has  not  been  in  my  power,  I  leave  Emma,  Lady  Hamilton,  there- 
fore, a  legacy  to  my  king  and  country,  that  they  will  give  her  an 
ample  provision  to  maintain  her  rank  in  life. 

"  I  also  leave  to  the  beneficence  of  my  country  my  daughter, 
Horatia  Nelson  Thompson ;  and  I  desire  she  will  use  in  future  the 
name  of  Nelson  only. 

"  These  are  the  only  favours  I  ask  of  my  king  and  country,  at  this 
moment  when  I  am  going  to  fight  their  battle.  May  God  bless  ray 
king,  and  country,  and  all  those  I  hold  dear  !  «  Nelson 

Henry  Blockwood. 


Witness     .m     T»/r     tt  J) 

T.  M.  Hardy." 

Shortly  after,  while  his  ship,  the  Victory,  was  grappled  with  the 
Redoubtable  and  chained  fast  to  her.  Nelson  was  struck  by  a  musket 


ANCIENT,   CURIOUS,   AND  FAMOUS  WILLS      281 

ball  fired  from  the  yards  of  the  Redoubtable.  He  called  for  his 
trusted  captain,  Hardy,  and  said:  "They  have  done  for  me  now, 
Hardy  —  my  back  is  broken."  And  soon  after,  he  died ;  but  not 
before  adding,  "I  would  like  to  live  one  hour,  just  to  know  that  my 
plans  were  right  —  we  must  capture  or  destroy  twenty  of  them." 
There  is  a  splendid  monument  to  Nelson  in  Trafalgar  Square, 
London,  but  the  English  did  not  respect  his  wishes  with  reference 
to  Lady  Hamilton.  As  a  matter  of  fact,  she  was  arrested  on  a 
charge  of  debt  and  imprisoned,  and  practically  driven  out  of 
England,  although  the  sisters  of  Lord  Nelson  believed  in  her  and 
respected  her  to  the  last.  She  died  in  France  in  1813.  The  daugh- 
ter, Horatia  Nelson,  lived  until  1881.  She  was  a  strong  and  excel- 
lent woman ;  she  married  the  Reverend  Philip  Ward,  of  Teventer, 
Kent,  and  raised  a  family  of  nine  children.  One  of  her  sons  moved 
to  America  and  made  his  mark  upon  the  stage  and  also  in  letters. 

Will  of  Florence  Nightingale 

"Rich  in  honors,"  says  the  New  York  World,  Florence  Nightin- 
gale died  "leaving  the  world,  which  had  paid  tribute  to  her  as  it 
has  to  few  women,  her  debtor."  She  was  known  by  the  various 
names  of  "The  Lady-in-Chief,"  "The  Lady  with  the  Lamp,"  "The 
Lady  of  the  Crimea,"  in  reference  to  the  service  she  rendered  Great 
Britain  and  the  world  on  the  battle-fields  of  the  Crimean  War. 

Longfellow  wrote  of  her : 

"On  England's  annals  through  the  long 
Hereafter  of  her  speech  and  song 

That  light  its  rays  shall  cast 

From  portals  of  the  past. 
A  lady  with  a  lamp  shall  stand 
In  the  great  history  of  the  land 

A  noble  type  of  good, 

Heroic  womanhood." 

The  lamp  referred  to  is  the  nurse's  lamp  with  which  she  used  to 
make  her  nocturnal  rounds  of  the  hospitals  when  all  was  silent. 

She  was  born  in  Florence,  Italy,  May  12,  1820,  of  wealthy, 
EngUsh  parents,  and  died  at  her  home  in  England,  August  14, 
1910.      She  was  given  the  name  of  the  place  of  her  birth. 

Her  will,  recently  taken  from  the  Records  of  Somerset  House, 
London,  is  in  the  following  words : 


282      ANCIENT,   CURIOUS,  AND  FAMOUS  WILLS 

"I,  Florence  Nightingale,  Spinster,  declare  this  to  be  my  last 
Will,  revoking  all  wills  by  me  heretofore  executed. 

"1.  I  appoint  my  Cousins,  Henry  Bonham  Carter,  Esquire, 
Samuel  Shore  Nightingale  and  Louis  Hilary  Shore  Nightingale, 
Esquires  (sons  of  my  late  Cousin,  William  Shore  Nightingale) ,  and 
Arthur  Hugh  Clough,  Esquire,  to  be  the  executors  of  this  my 
Will. 

"  2.  I  give  my  executors  all  my  books,  papers  (whether  manu- 
scripts or  printed)  and  letters  relating  to  my  Indian  work  (together 
with  the  two  stones  for  Irrigation  maps  of  India  at  Mr.  Stanford's, 
Charing  Cross,  and  also  the  woodcut  blocks  for  illustrations  of 
those  works  at  Messrs.  Spottiswoodes),  upon  trust,  in  their  abso- 
lute discretion  or  in  that  of  the  survivors  or  survivor  of  them  to 
publish  or  prepare  for  publication  such  part,  if  any,  as  they  or  the 
majority  of  them  for  the  time  being  may  think  fit,  and  I  give  them 
a  sum  of  two  hundred  and  fifty  pounds  for  those  purposes.  And 
without  limiting  the  exercise  of  such  discretion  I  should  wish  my 
executors  to  consult  my  friend,  Sir  William  Wedderburn,  in  the 
matter  of  such  publication.  And  I  declare  that  if  my  executors, 
within  three  years  from  my  death,  have  taken  no,  or  only  partial, 
steps  to  publish  or  before  that  time  have  decided  not  to  publish 
anything,  the  said  sum  of  two  hundred  and  fifty  pounds,  or  any 
unexpended  part  thereof,  shall  fall  into  the  residue  of  my  estate. 
And  subject  to  the  foregoing,  I  authorize  my  executors  to  destroy 
all  or  any  of  the  above  mentioned  books  and  papers,  stones  and 
blocks  or  otherwise  to  dispose  of  the  same  as  they  may  think  fit. 

"  3.  I  bequeath  to  the  children  of  my  late  dear  friend,  Arthur 
Hugh  Clough  and  his  widow,  my  Cousin,  Blanch  Mary  Shore 
Clough,  the  sum  of  seven  thousand  pounds  to  be  divided  between 
them  in  the  following  proportions  : 

"  To  the  said  Arthur  Hugh  Clough  two  thousand  pounds ; 

"  To  Blanch  Athena  Clough  two  thousand  five  hundred  pounds, 
and  to  Florence  Anne  Mary  Clough  two  thousand  five  hundred 
pounds.  I  bequeath  to  each  of  them,  the  said  Samuel  Shore 
Nightingale  and  Louis  Hilary  Shore  Nightingale,  the  sum  of  three 
thousand  five  hundred  pounds.  To  each  of  them,  Rosalind  Frances 
Mary  Nash  and  Margaret  Thyra  Barbara  Shore  Nightingale 
(daughters  of  my  said  late  Cousin,  William  Shore  Nightingale) 
the  sum  of  one  thousand  five  hundred  pounds.  I  bequeath  five 
hundred  pounds  to  the  said  Henry  Bonham  Carter  as  a  tiny  sign 
of  my  gratitude  for  his  wise  and  unfailing  exertions  in  connection 


ANCIENT,  CURIOUS,  AND  FAMOUS  WELLS      283 

with  our  Training  Schools  for  Nurses,  and  also  the  portraits  of  Sir 
Bartle  Frere  Mohl  Hallam  Bunsen  and  the  Sidney  Herberts. 
And  I  also  give  to  him  a  further  legacy  of  one  thousand  three 
hundred  pounds  for  his  objects,  and  to  Joanna  Frances  Bonham 
Carter  a  legacy  of  one  hundred  pounds.  I  give  to  Francis  Gal  ton 
two  thousand  pounds  for  certain  purposes  and  I  declare  that  the 
same  shall  be  paid  in  priority  to  all  other  bequests  given  by  my 
Will  for  charitable  or  other  purposes.  I  give  one  hundred  pounds 
to  Mary  Ureth  Frederica,  the  daughter  of  William  Bacheler  Colt- 
man  and  Bertha  Elizabeth  Shore  Coltman,  his  wife,  and  fifty 
pounds  to  each  of  their  sons,  William  Hew  Coltman  and  Thomas 
Lister  Coltman.  I  bequeath  th  ee  hundred  pounds  to  J,  I.  Fred- 
erick, Esquire,  Secretary  of  the  Army  Sanitary  Commission,  three 
hundred  pounds  to  Sir  Douglas  Galton  of  Chester  Street,  London. 
I  bequeath  one  hundred  pounds  each  to  Mary  and  Emily,  daughters 
of  the  late  Dr.  WiUiam  Farr  of  the  General  Register  Office;  two 
hundred  and  fifty  pounds  to  Mother  Stanislaus,  Reverend  Mother 
of  the  Hospital  Sisters  in  Great  Ormond  Street,  for  her  objects; 
one  hundred  pounds  to  John  Croft,  Esquire,  late  Instructor  of  the 
Nightingale  Training  School  at  St.  Thomas'  Hospital,  and  two 
hundred  and  fifty  pounds  to  the  Mother  Superior  at  the  time  of 
my  death  of  the  Devonport  Sisters  of  Mercy.  I  direct  my  execu- 
tors to  purchase  out  of  my  estate  an  annuity  of  sixty  pounds  on 
the  Hfe  of  Miss  Crossland,  late  'Home  Sister'  of  the  Nightingale 
Training  School  at  St.  Thomas'  Hospital.  And  also  an  annuity 
of  thirty  pounds  on  the  life  of  Miss  Vincent,  now  Matron  of  St. 
Marylebone  Infirmary.  And  I  bequeath  to  each  of  those  ladies 
respectively  the  annuity  so  purchased  on  her  life  absolutely  :  each 
annuity  to  commence  from  the  date  of  my  decease.  I  bequeath 
one  hundred  pounds  to  Miss  Styring,  now  Matron  of  Paddington 
Infirmary ;  one  hundred  pounds  to  Miss  Spencer,  now  Lady  Super- 
intendent of  Edinburgh  Royal  Infirmary ;  one  hundred  pounds  to 
Madame  Caroline  Werckner,  who  nursed  the  French  Prisoners  in  the 
Franco-German  War  at  Breslau  (now  at  Lymington) ;  one  hundred 
pounds  to  the  daughters  of  Margaret,  wife  of  Sir  Edmund  Verney, 
in  equal  shares;  one  hundred  pounds  to  the  daughters  of  Fred- 
erick W.  Verney  (youngest  son  of  the  late  Sir  Harry  Verney) 
in  equal  shares ;  Five  hundred  pounds  to  Paulina  Irby  of  Serajevo, 
Bosnia,  for  her  objects ;  One  hundred  and  fifty  pounds  to  Peter 
Grillage  (from  Balaclava)  and  Temperance,  his  wife,  whose  maiden 
name  was  Hatcher,  now  at  Ridgway,  Plympton,  Devon,  to  be 


284      ANCIENT,   CURIOUS,   AND  FAMOUS  WILLS 

equally  divided  between  them  and  in  case  one  of  them  should 
predecease  me  the  survivor  to  take  the  whole;  Fifty  pounds  to 
Fanny  Dowding  now  McCarthy,  formerly  in  my  service;  One 
hundred  pounds  to  Robert  Robinson  now  residing  at  101  West 
Street,  Grimsbury,  Banbury;  One  hundred  and  seventy  five 
pounds  to  my  servant,  Elizabeth  Mary  Coleman,  if  living  with  me 
at  the  time  of  my  decease,  and  to  Ellen  Pearce  twenty  five  pounds 
under  the  same  condition ;  One  hundred  pounds  to  William  Rath- 
bone,  Esquire,  M.P.  as  a  feeble  sign  of  heartfelt  gratitude  for  his 
unbounded  goodness  to  the  cause  of  Trained  Nursing  and  to  me; 
Two  hundred  and  fifty  pounds  to  the  said  Sir  William  Wedderburn 
for  certain  purposes ;  One  hundred  pounds  to  each  of  my  executors 
as  an  acknowledgment  of  his  trouble  in  executing  the  provisions 
of  my  Will,  in  addition  to  any  other  legacy  left  to  him.  I  bequeath 
one  hundred  pounds  to  Mr.  William  Yeomans  of  Holloway  House, 
with  thanks  for  his  kindness  to  the  people  of  Holloway  for  me ;  I 
leave  twenty  pounds  for  a  small  gold  cross  or  crucifix  to  be  chosen 
by  the  said  Henry  Bonham  Carter  for  Miss  Pringle,  formerly 
Matron  of  St.  Thomas'  Hospital. 

"4.  I  give  and  bequeath  the  following  specific  legacies  (namely), 
the  jewels  from  the  Queen  and  the  bracelet  from  the  Sultan  and 
the  other  medals  and  Orders,  together  with  my  engraving  of  the 
ground  round  Sebastopol,  to  the  Managers  for  the  time  being  of 
the  Reading  Room  at  Herbert  Hospital,  or  at  Netley  or  at  Alder- 
shot  or  at  some  other  place  where  soldiers  may  see  them,  as  my 
executors  may  in  their  absolute  discretion  decide.  All  my  prints, 
framed  or  otherwise  (except  those  that  I  may  otherwise  dispose  of), 
and  including  those  of  the  Queen  and  Prince  Albert  given  me  by 
the  Queen  at  Balmoral,  in  one  thousand  eight  hundred  and  fifty 
six,  and  of  Landseer's  'Highland  Nurses  '  to  my  executors  to  be 
distributed  by  them  amongst  the  Nightingale  Training  Schools  for 
Nurses  and  those  connected  with  us,  in  such  manner  in  all  respects 
as  my  executors  may  in  their  absolute  discretion  decide.  The 
framed  Michael  Angelo  photographs,  the  portfolio  of  Venice  photo- 
graphs from  Mrs.  Bracebridge,  the  two  lovely  water  colour  sketches 
of  Embley,  and  the  copy  of  Turner's  '  Rock  '  by  Louisa  Elenor 
Shore  Nightingale,  my  father's  watch  and  spectacles,  the  book 
case  in  the  drawing  room  given  me  by  the  said  William  Shore 
Nightingale  and  Louisa  Eleanor,  his  wife,  the  portrait  of  Sir  John 
McNeill,  the  little  Soutari  clock  and  the  box  (Miss  Coape's)  with 
all  the  '  stuff  '  in  it,  i.e.  annotated  in  pencil  by  Mr.  Stuart  Mill  and 


ANCIENT,   CURIOUS,  AND  FAMOUS  WILLS       285 

Mr,  Jowett,  with  their  letters,  et  cetera,  upon  it,  to  the  children  of 
the  said  William  Shore  Nightingale,  living  at  my  death,  to  be 
divided  amongst  them  in  such  manner  as  they  shall  agree  upon,  and 
in  default  of  agreement  as  my  executors,  other  than  the  said 
Samuel  Shore  Nightingale  and  Louis  Hilary  Shore  Nightingale, 
shall  determine.  The  cutlery  given  me  by  the  town  of  Sheffield 
and  any  Tallboy  or  book  case  or  tall  stand  for  papers  he  may 
choose  to  the  said  Samuel  Shore  Nightingale.  The  'Colas ' 
bronze  of  Sophocles,  all  copies  of  the  printed  three  volumes  entitled 
'Suggestions  for  Thought,'  the  three  volumes  of  Quetelet  given  me 
by  Mr.  Quetelet  with  my  M.  S.  papers  in  the  same  parcel,  and  my 
Dante  in  three  volumes  quarto  with  illustrations,  to  the  said  Rosa- 
lind Frances  Mary  Nash.  The  sketch  of  the  older  Parthe  to  Mrs. 
Hawthorn,  a  bookcase  or  tallboy  and  the  picture  of  the  head  of 
Christ  with  the  Crown  of  Thorns  (Nazarene),  in  my  room,  to  the 
said  Louis  Hilary  Shore  Nightingale.  The  Titian  'Virgin'  with 
the  two  sides  of  Angioletti  and  the  (rare)  cast  of  the  Avignon 
Crucifix  to  the  said  Margaret  Thyra  Barbara  Shore  Nightingale. 
To  each  of  them,  the  said  Samuel  Shore  Nightingale  and  Louis 
Hilary  Shore  Nightingale,  Rosalind  Frances  Mary  Nash  and 
Margaret  Thyra  Barbara  Shore  Nightingale,  such  six  of  my  books 
as  they  shall  select.  The  picture  of  Gordon  in  'The  last  Watch' 
to  the  said  Louisa  Eleanor  Shore  Nightingale.  The  Bible  given 
me  by  Pleasley  to  the  said  Frederick  W.  Verney.  The  Michael 
Angelo  Sistine  Chapel  ceiling,  stretched  on  two  screen  poles,  and 
my  chatelain  with  the  blue  seal  ring,  etc.  upon  it  to  the  said  Bertha 
Elizabeth  Shore  Coltman.  The  desk  given  me  by  Lea  to  Beatrice 
Lushington  during  her  life,  and  after  her  death  to  the  said  Louis 
Hilary  Shore  Nightingale.  The  framed  'Nile  '  given  me  by  the 
said  Henry  Bonham  Carter  and  the  Models  of  Highgate  Infirmary 
and  Chapel  made  by  Patients  there  to  Sibella,  the  wife  of  the  said 
Henry  Bonham  Carter.  The  prints  which  belonged  to  dear  Hilary, 
namely  the  Correggio  'Magdalen  '  and  'Christ  in  the  Garden,' 
the  large  Michael  Angelo  of  Isaiah  (all  framed),  also  a  packet  of 
papers  of  Hilary's  (in  my  despatch  box)  to  be  divided  between 
Alice  Bonham  Carter  and  her  sister,  Elinor  Dicey,  or  if  either  of 
them  should  die  before  me,  all  the  said  articles  to  the  survivor, 
but  if  neither  of  them  should  survive  me  I  direct  that  the  said 
papers  shall  be  burnt.  The  large  framed  photograph  of  her  father, 
Sidney  Herbert,  given  me  by  his  wife,  to  Mary  Herbert,  now 
Baroness  Hugel.     The  large  framed  Madonna  di  San  Sisto  (with 


286      ANCIENT,   CURIOUS,  AND  FAMOUS  WILLS 

a  little  secret  between  us  about  Gwendolen's  likeness)  to  Maude, 
wife  of  the  said  Frederick  W.  Verney;  such  of  my  blue  books. 
War  Office,  India  and  Statistical  and  Hospital  Reports  and  Books 
as  he  shall  choose  to  the  said  J.  J.  Frederick,  and  the  remainder  of 
them  to  the  said  Sir  Douglas.  The  volume  of  Prince  Albert's 
speeches  given  me  by  the  Queen,  with  her  autograph  in  the  book, 
to  the  said  Henry  Bonham  Carter.  The  life  of  the  Prince  Consort 
given  me  by  the  Queen,  with  her  autograph  in  it,  and  the  Athens 
photograph  book  given  me  by  Emily  Verney  to  the  said  Margaret 
Verney.  The  Illustrated  New  Testament  and  Prayer  Book  to 
my  two  little  Goddaughters,  Ruth,  child  of  the  said  Margaret 
Verney,  and  Kathleen,  child  of  the  said  Frederick  W.  Verney. 
The  Roman  Catholic  books  in  English  or  French,  some  of  which 
were  given  me  by  the  Reverend  Mother  Clare  of  Bermondsey, 
who  died  in  one  thousand  eight  hundred  and  seventy  four,  to  the 
said  Mother  Stanislaus;  my  Schiller  to  Miss  Shalders,  formerly 
Governess  to  the  children  of  Mrs.  Frederick  Verney,  and  to  Blanch 
Mary  Shore  Clough  some  article  to  be  selected  by  her  out  of  my 
personal  chattels,  not  subject  to  other  destinations. 

"  5.  I  give  and  bequeath  all  my  remaining  books,  clothes,  furni- 
ture, trinkets  and  personal  chattels  to  my  executors,  requesting 
them  thereout  to  give  some  remembrance  of  me  to  their  children 
and  to  the  children  of  my  deceased  friend,  the  said  Arthur  Hugh 
Clough  the  elder,  and  Blanch  Shore  Clough,  his  widow ;  the 
children  of  the  said  Bertha  Elizabeth  Shore  Coltman,  of  the  said 
Sir  Edmund  Verney,  of  the  said  Frederick  W.  Verney,  of  George 
Lloyd  Verney  and  of  Henry  Bonham  Carter  and  Sibella,  his  wife ; 
to  the  widow  of  the  said  George  Lloyd  Verney  and  to  Mr.  Burton 
of  Lea  School.  To  my  beloved  and  reverend  friends,  Mr.  Charles 
H.  Bracebridge  and  his  wife,  my  more  than  mother,  without  whom 
Scutari  and  my  life  could  not  have  been  and  to  whom  nothing  that 
I  could  ever  say  or  do  would  in  the  least  express  my  thankfulness, 
I  should  have  left  some  token  of  my  remembrance  had  they,  as  I 
expected,  survived  me.  I  further  request  my  executors  to  dis- 
tribute the  whole  of  the  remainder  of  the  said  articles,  including 
the  useful  furniture  and  books,  amongst  the  Matrons  Home 
Sisters,  Ward  Sisters,  Nurses  and  Probationers  trained  by  us  for 
whom  they  know  me  to  have  a  regard,  particularly  remembering 
the  hospital  of  St.  Thomas  and  of  Edinburgh  and  the  Infirmaries 
of  St.  Marylebone  and  Paddington,  and  including  the  successor 
of  Miss  Jones,  formerly  Superior  of  St.  John's,  now  at  30  Kensing- 


ANCIENT,   CURIOUS,  AND  FAMOUS  WILLS     287 

ton  Square.  And  I  declare  that  the  gifts  hereinbefore  directed 
or  authorized  to  be  made  by  my  executors  out  of  the  articles  afore- 
said shall  be  entirely  in  the  uncontrolled  discretion  of  my  executors, 
both  as  to  selection  of  the  gifts  and  of  the  donees,  other  than  those 
mentioned  by  name. 

"  6.  I  request  that  all  my  letters,  papers  and  manuscripts  (with 
the  exception  of  the  papers  relating  to  India  and  the  other  excep- 
tions hereinbefore  contained)  may  be  destroyed  without  examina- 
tion ;  also  that  the  pencil  notes  in  the  pages  of  any  religious  books 
may  be  destroyed  with  the  books,  and  I  appeal  to  the  love  and 
feeling  of  my  cherished  friends  and  executors  and  earnestly  entreat 
of  them  entirely  to  fulfil  these  my  last  wishes. 

"  7.  I  declare  that  every  legacy  hereinbefore  given  to  a  legatee 
for  his  (or  her)  objects,  or  for  certain  purposes,  shall  be  considered 
in  law  as  an  absolute  gift  to  such  legatee  and  that  every  power  of 
appropriation,  user  or  application,  hereinbefore  contained  shall  be 
exercisible  by  the  legatee  on  whom  the  same  is  conferred  without 
any  liability  to  account  for  its  exercise. 

"  8.  I  direct  that  all  legacies,  annuities  and  bequests  given  by 
this  my  Will  or  any  Codicil  thereto,  whether  pecuniary  or  specific, 
shall  be  free  from  duty,  which  shall  be  paid  out  of  my  residuary 
personal  estate. 

"  9.  In  case  any  of  the  children  of  the  said  Arthur  Hugh  Clough, 
the  father,  or  of  the  said  William  Shore  Nightingale  shall  die  in  my 
Ufetime,  then  I  give  and  bequeath  the  legacy,  or  legacies  (specific 
or  pecuniary)  hereinbefore  given  to  such  child,  to  his  or  her  chil- 
dren (if  any)  who  shall  be  living  at  my  death  and  if  more  than  one 
in  equal  shares. 

"10.  I  devise  and  bequeath  all  the  residue  of  my  personal  estate 
and  effects  whatsoever  and  wheresoever  and  all  my  real  estate  of 
every  tenure  and  wheresoever  situate  unto  and  to  the  use  of  the 
children  of  the  said  William  Shore  Nightingale  who  shall  be  living 
at  my  death,  and  the  child  or  children  then  living  of  any  deceased 
child  of  his  absolutely,  and  if  more  than  one  in  equal  shares,  but 
so  that  the  children  of  any  deceased  child  of  his  shall  take  equally 
between  them  only  the  share  which  their  parent  would  have  taken 
had  he  or  she  survived  me. 

"11.  I  authorize  my  executors  to  determine  what  articles  pass 
under  any  specific  bequest  contained  in  this  my  Will  or  any  Codicil 
hereto  and  to  determine  all  questions  and  matters  of  doubt  arising 
under  this  my  Will  or  any  Codicil  hereto.     And  I  declare  that  every 


288      ANCIENT,   CURIOUS,  AND  FAMOUS  WILLS 

such  determination,  whether  made  upon  a  question  actually  raised 
or  implied  in  the  acts  or  proceedings  of  my  executors,  shall  be  con- 
clusive and  binding  on  all  persons  interested  under  this  my  Will. 
And  I  declare  that  all  powers,  authorities  and  discretions  thereby 
expressed  to  be  vested  in  or  given  to  my  executors  shall  be  vested 
in  and  exercisible  by  the  acting  executors  or  executor  for  the  time 
being  of  this  my  Will.  And  I  declare  that  my  executors  may  em- 
ploy the  said  Louis  Hilary  Shore  Nightingale  professionally,  if 
they  think  proper,  and  that  if  so  employed  he  shall  be  entitled  to 
charge  and  be  paid  all  usual  professional  or  other  charges  for  any 
business  done  by  him  and  whether  in  the  ordinary  course  of  his 
profession  or  business  or  not. 

"  12.  I  give  my  body  for  dissection  or  postmortem  examination 
for  the  purposes  of  Medical  Science  and  I  request  that  the  direc- 
tions about  my  funeral  given  by  me  to  my  uncle,  the  late  Samuel 
Smith,  be  observed ;  my  original  request  was  that  no  memorial 
whatever  should  mark  the  place  where  lies  my  'Mortal  Coil.' 
I  much  desire  this  but  should  the  expression  of  such  wish  render 
invalid  my  other  wishes,  I  limit  myself  to  the  above  mentioned 
directions,  praying  that  my  body  may  be  carried  to  the  nearest 
convenient  burial  ground,  accompanied  by  not  more  than  two 
persons  without  trappings  and  that  a  simple  cross,  with  only  my 
initials,  date  of  birth  and  of  death,  mark  the  spot. 

"  In  witness  whereof  I  have  to  this  my  last  will  and  testament 
contained  in  six  sheets  of  paper  set  my  hand  this  twenty  eighth  day 
of  July,  one  thousand  eight  hundred  and  ninety  six. 

"  Florence  Nightingale." 

Then  follows  the  attestation  clause.  There  are  three  codicils 
to  this  unusual  will ;  the  first  making  slight  changes  in  legacies, 
but  of  no  particular  interest  to  the  general  reader. 

There  are  two  items  in  the  second  codicil  worthy  of  reproduction 
and  they  are  here  given  : 

"4.  I  revoke  the  paragraph  numbered  6  of  my  said  will  and 
bequeath  the  letters,  papers,  manuscripts  and  books  which  I 
thereby  requested  might  be  destroyed  and  the  majority  of  which 
I  beheve  should  be  destroyed,  to  my  said  cousin,  Henry  Bonham 
Carter. 

"5.  I  bequeath  to  Elizabeth  Mary  Wiggins  the  sum  of  twenty 
pounds  and  my  cats;  and  to  my  maid  Ellen  Kate  Tugby,  if  she 
shall  be  in  my  service  at  the  time  of  my  death,  my  parrot  and  the 


ANCIENT,   CURIOUS,   AND  FAMOUS  WILLS      289 

sum  of  two  hundred  and  five  pounds  with  my  best  thanks  for  her 
loving  service;  and  to  my  messenger,  William  Magee,  if  he  shall 
be  in  my  service  at  the  time  of  my  death,  the  sum  of  forty  five 
pounds  with  my  best  thanks  for  his  faithful  service." 

The  third  and  last  codicil  contains  nothing  which  is  of  special 
importance. 

Will  of  Philip,  Fifth  Earl  of  Pembroke 

Those  who  possess  leisure  and  patience  for  the  research  might 
find  in  the  pigeon  holes  of  will  offices  some  remarkable  evidences  of 
human  malignity. 

Among  the  most  capricious,  perhaps,  is  the  specimen  we  subjoin, 
penned  by  an  Earl  of  Pembroke,  who  lived  during  the  political 
turmoils  of  the  seventeenth  century ;  it  testifies  to  a  shrewd  knowl- 
edge of  character,  and  is  expressed  with  a  considerable  amount  of 
dry  humor  which  considerably  softens  its  severity. 

The  copy  from  which  this  is  taken  bears  the  signature  of  the 
then  keeper  of  these  records  —  Nathaniel  Brind  —  beneath  the 
words  "Concordat  cum  originali." 

"I,  Philip,  V  Earl  of  Pembroke  and  Montgomery,  being,  as  I 
am  assured,  of  unsound  health,  but  of  sound  memory  —  as  I  well 
remember  me  that  five  years  ago  I  did  give  my  vote  for  the  de- 
spatching of  old  Canterbury,  neither  have  I  forgotten  that  I  did  see 
my  King  upon  the  scaffold  —  yet  as  it  is  said  that  Death  doth 
even  now  pursue  me,  and,  moreover,  as  it  is  yet  further  said  that  it 
is  my  practice  to  yield  under  coercion,  I  do  now  make  my  last  will 
and  testament. 

"Imprimis:  As  for  my  soul,  I  do  confess  I  have  often  heard 
men  speak  of  the  soul,  but  what  may  be  these  same  souls,  or  what 
their  destination,  God  knoweth ;  for  myself,  I  know  not.  Men 
have  likewise  talked  to  me  of  another  world,  which  I  have  never 
visited,  nor  do  I  even  know  an  inch  of  the  ground  that  leadeth 
thereto.  When  the  King  was  reigning,  I  did  make  my  son  wear  a 
surplice,  being  desirous  that  he  should  become  a  Bishop,  and  for 
myself  I  did  follow  the  religion  of  my  master :  then  came  the 
Scotch,  who  made  me  a  Presbyterian,  but  since  the  time  of  Crom- 
well, I  have  become  an  Independent.  These  are,  methinks, 
the  three  principal  religions  of  the  kingdom  —  if  any  one  of  the 
three  can  save  a  soul,  to  that  I  claim  to  belong :  if,  therefore,  my 
executors  can  find  my  soul,  I  desire  they  will  return  it  to  Him  who 
gave  it  to  me. 


290       ANCIENT,   CURIOUS,  AND  FAMOUS  WILLS 

"Item  :  I  give  my  body,  for  it  is  plain  I  cannot  keep  it ;  as  you 
see,  the  chirurgeons  are  tearing  it  in  pieces.  Bury  me,  therefore ; 
I  hold  lands  and  churches  enough  for  that.  Above  all,  put  not 
my  body  beneath  the  church-porch,  for  I  am,  after  all,  a  man  of 
birth,  and  I  would  not  that  I  should  be  interred  there,  where  Col- 
onel Pride  was  born, 

"Item :  I  will  have  no  monument,  for  then  I  must  needs  have 
an  epitaph,  and  verses  over  my  carcase :  during  my  life  I  have 
had  enough  of  these. 

"Item:  I  desire  that  my  dogs  may  be  shared  among  all  the 
members  of  the  Council  of  State.  With  regard  to  them,  I  have 
been  all  things  to  all  men;  sometimes  went  I  with  the  Peers, 
sometimes  with  the  Commons.  I  hope,  therefore,  they  will  not 
suffer  my  poor  curs  to  want. 

"Item  :  I  give  my  two  best  saddle-horses  to  the  Earl  of  Denbigh 
whose  legs,  methinks,  must  soon  begin  to  fail  him.  As  regardeth 
my  other  horses,  I  bequeath  them  to  Lord  Fairfax,  that  when 
Cromwell  and  his  council  take  away  his  commission  he  may  still 
have  some  horse  to  command. 

"Item :  I  give  all  my  wild  beasts  to  the  Earl  of  Salisbury,  being 
very  sure  he  will  preserve  them,  seeing  that  he  refused  the  King 
a  doe  out  of  his  park. 

"Item :  I  bequeath  my  chaplains  to  the  Earl  of  Stanford,  seeing 
he  has  never  had  one  in  his  employ ;  having  never  known  any  other 
than  his  son.  My  Lord  Grey,  who,  being  at  the  same  time  spiritual 
and  carnal,  will  engender  more  than  one  monster. 

"Item  :  I  give  nothing  to  my  Lord  Saye,  and  I  do  make  him  this 
legacy  willingly,  because  I  know  that  he  will  faithfully  distribute 
it  unto  the  poor. 

"Item:  Seeing  that  I  did  menace  a  certam  Henry  Mildmay, 
but  did  not  thrash  him,  I  do  leave  the  sum  of  fifty  pounds  sterling 
to  the  lacquey  that  shall  pay  unto  him  my  debt. 

"Item:  I  bequeath  to  Thomas  May,  whose  nose  I  did  break 
at  a  mascarade,  five  shillings.  My  intention  had  been  to  give 
him  more;  but  all  who  shall  have  seen  his  'History  of  the  Parlia- 
ment' will  consider  that  even  this  sum  is  too  large. 

"Item  :  I  should  have  given  to  the  author  of  the  libel  on  women, 
entitled  'News  of  the  Exchange,'  three  pence  to  invent  a  yet  more 
scurrilous  mode  of  maligning;  but,  seeing  that  he  insulteth  and 
slandereth  I  know  not  how  many  honest  persons,  I  commit  the 
oflSce  of  paying  him  to  the  same  lacquey  who  undertaketh  the 


ANCIENT,   CURIOUS,   AND  FAMOUS  WILLS     291 

arrears  of  Henry  Mildmay ;  he  will  teach  him  to  distinguish  be- 
tween honourable  women  and  disreputable. 

"  Item :  I  give  to  the  Lieutenant-General  Cromwell  one  of  my 
words,  the  which  he  must  want,  seeing  that  he  hath  never  kept 
any  of  his  own. 

"Item :  I  give  to  the  wealthy  citizens  of  London,  and  likewise 
to  the  Presbyterians  and  the  nobility,  notice  to  look  to  their  skins ; 
for,  by  the  order  of  the  State,  the  garrison  of  Whitehall  hath  pro- 
vided itseK  with  poniards,  and  useth  dark  lanterns  in  the  place  of 
candles. 

"Item :  I  give  up  the  ghost." 

Will  of  William  Penn 

William  Penn  died  in  1718.  His  will,  which  follows,  and  the 
comments  concerning  it,  are  copied  from  an  excellent  little  booklet 
issued  by  the  Chelten  Trust  Company  of  Germantown,  Pennsyl- 
vania : 

"I  William  Penn  Esqr  so  called  Cheife  proprietor  &  Govenour 
of  the  Pennsilvania  and  the  Territoryes  thereunto  belonging, 
being  of  sound  mind  and  understanding,  for  which  I  bless  God, 
doe  make  and  declare  this  my  last  Will  and  Testament. 

"My  Eldest  Son  being  well  provided  for  by  a  Settlement  of  his 
Mothers  and  my  ffathers  Estate  I  give  and  devise  the  Rest  of  my 
Estate  in  manner  following 

"The  Government  of  my  Province  of  Pennsilvania  and  Terri- 
tories thereunto  belonging  and  all  powers  relateing  thereunto  I 
give  and  devise  to  the  most  Hono'ble  the  Earle  of  Oxford  and  Earl 
Mortimer,  and  to  William  Earle  Powelett,  so  called,  and  their 
Heires,  upon  trust  to  dispose  thereof  to  the  Queen  or  any  other 
Person  to  the  best  advantage  they  can  to  be  applyed  in  such  a 
manner  as  I  shall  herein  after  direct. 

"I  give  and  devise  to  my  dear  Wife  Hannah  Penn  and  her 
ffather  Thomas  Callowhill  and  to  my  good  ffriends  Margarett 
Lowther  my  dear  Sister,  and  to  Gilbert  Heathcote  Physitian, 
Samuel  Waldenfield,  John  flPield,  Henry  Gouldney,  all  liveing 
in  England,  and  to  my  friends  Samuel  Carpenter,  Richard  Hill,. 
Isaac  Norris,  Samuel  Preston,  and  James  Logan,  liveing  in  or  near 
Pensilvania  and  their  heires  all  my  lands  Tenements  and  Here- 
ditamts  whatsoever  rents  and  other  profitts  scituate  lyeing  and 
being  in  Pensilvania  and  the  Territores  thereunto  belonging,  or 
else  where  in  America,  upon  Trust  that  they  shall  sell  and  dispose 


292      ANCIENT,   CURIOUS,  AND  FAMOUS  WILLS 

of  so  much  thereof  as  shall  be  sufficient  to  pay  all  my  just  debts, 
and  from  and  after  paymt  thereof  shall  convey  unto  each  of  the 
three  Children  of  my  son  Willm  Penn,  GuHelma-Maria,  Springett, 
and  William  respectively  and  to  their  respective  heires  10,000 
acres  of  land  in  some  proper  and  beneficiall  places  to  be  sett  out  by 
my  Trustees  aforesaid.  All  the  rest  of  my  lands  and  Hereditamts 
whatsoever,  scituate  lyeing  and  being  in  America,  I  will  that  my 
said  Trustees  shall  convey  to  and  amongst  Children  which  I  have 
by  my  present  Wife,  in  such  proporcon  and  for  such  estates  as  my 
said  Wife  shall  think  fit,  but  before  such  Conveyance  shall  be 
made  to  my  Children  I  will  that  my  said  Trustees  shall  convey 
to  my  daughter  Aubrey  whom  I  omitted  to  name  before  10,000 
acres  of  my  said  Lands  in  such  places  as  my  said  Trustees  shall 
think  fitt. 

"All  my  P'sonall  estate  in  Pennsilvania  and  elsewhere  and 
arreares  of  rent  due  there  I  give  to  my  said  dear  Wife,  whom  I 
make  my  sole  Executrix  for  the  equall  benefitt  of  her  and  her 
Children. 

"  In  Testimony  whereof  I  have  sett  my  hand  and  seal  to  this  my 
Will,  which  I  declare  to  be  my  last  Will,  revoking  all  others  formerly 
made  by  me. 

"Signed  Sealed  and  Published  by  the  Testator  William  Penn 
in  the  presence  of  us  who  sett  our  names  as  Witnesses  thereof  in 
the  P'sence  of  the  said  Testator  after  the  Interlineacon  of  the 
Words  above  Vizt  whom  I  make  my  sole  Executrix. 

William  Penn. 
(Five  Witnesses) 

"This  Will  I  made  when  ill  of  a  feavour  at  London  with  a  Clear 
understanding  of  what  I  did  then,  but  because  of  some  unworthy 
Expressions  belying  Gods  goodness  to  me  as  if  I  knew  not  what  I 
did,  doe  now  that  I  am  recovered  through  Gods  goodness  hereby 
declare  that  it  is  my  last  Will  and  Testament  at  Ruscomb,  in 
Berkshire,  this  27th  of  the  5th  Month,  called  May,  1712. 

"Wm.  Penn. 
(Seven  Witnesses) 
"Postcript  in  my  own  hand 

"As  a  further  Testimony  of  my  love  to  my  dear  Wife  I  of  my 
own  mind  give  unto  her  out  of  the  rents  of  America  vizt  Pennsil- 
vania 300  pounds  a  year  for  her  naturall  life  and  for  her  care  and 
charge  over  my  Children  in  their  Education  of  which  she  knows 


ANCIENT,   CURIOUS,  AND  FAMOUS  WILLS     293 

my  mind  as  also  that  I  desire  they  may  settle  at  least  in  good  part 
in  America  where  I  leave  them  so  good  an  Interest  to  be  for  their 
Inheritance  from  Generacon  to  Generacon  which  the  Lord  p'serve 
and  prosper.     Amen.  Wm.  Penn." 

COMMENTS   ON   THE   WILL 

This  will,  of  interest  to  all  Americans,  has  been  quoted,  not  as 
showing  how  to  prepare  a  will,  but  how  not  to  do  it. 

James  Logan,  man  of  affairs.  Secretary  of  the  Province  and  the 
business  representative  of  the  Penn  family  in  Pennsylvania,  was 
dismayed  when  a  copy  was  placed  in  his  hands  He  wrote  to  Han- 
nah Penn,  the  widow,  November  4,  1718 : 

"The  sloop  'Dolphin'  arrived  from  London,  bringing  us  divers 
letters  and  among  ye  rest  one  from  Jno  Page  to  me  with  a  copy  of 
our  late  Proprietor's  will  wch  gives  me  some  uneasiness  as  being 
Drawn  in  hast  I  believe  by  himself  only,  when  such  a  settlement 
required  a  hand  better  acquainted  with  affairs  of  that  Nature. 

"The  Estate  in  these  parts  is  vested  in  so  many  without  im- 
powering  any  P'ticular  or  a  suitable  number  to  grant  and  Convey, 
that  I  fear  we  shall  be  puzzled.  I  hope  that  you  will  take  advice 
there  what  methods  must  be  pursued  in  ye  Case." 

James  Logan,  with  his  clear  mind,  saw  at  once  the  difficulties 
which  would  surround  the  execution  of  such  a  will,  and  regretted 
that  Penn  had  not  employed  some  competent  person  to  draw  up 
this  important  document  for  him.  Such  a  will,  disposing  of  so 
many  and  varied  interests,  as  Logan  quaintly  expressed  it,  "re- 
quired a  hand  better  acquainted  with  affairs  of  that  Nature." 

Logan's  criticism  and  fears  were  well  grounded  as  the  litigation 
over  the  Founder's  will  extended  over  a  period  of  nine  years. 

The  hfe  of  Penn  reveals  him  as  gifted  with  extraordinary  wis- 
dom, prudence,  and  forethought.  In  the  ordinary  as  well  as  the 
trying  and  unusual  crises  of  his  eventful  life,  these  qualities  stood 
him  in  good  stead,  but  when  he  came  to  draw  up  his  own  will  they 
failed  him,  as  they  have  failed  so  many  men  who  have  tried  in  vain 
to  draw  a  valid  will. 

It  is  a  wise  provision  of  the  religious  society  of  which  Penn  was 
one  of  the  founders,  by  which  it  annually  recommends  to  its 
members : 

"Friends  are  earnestly  advised  to  inspect  the  state  of  their  out- 
ward affairs  at  least  once  in  a  year  and  to  consider  carefully,  whilst 
in  health,  the  just  disposition  of  their  estates  by  will  or  otherwise." 


294      ANCIENT,  CURIOUS,  AND  FAMOUS  WILLS 

Will  of  Samuel  Pepys 

Samuel  Pepys  was  an  interesting  figure  in  England  in  the  latter 
part  of  the  seventeenth  century.  We  know  him  chiefly  as  the 
well-known  diarist,  though  he  did  work  of  high  order  in  connection 
with  the  British  navy.  He  died  on  May  26,  1703.  Of  his  diary, 
the  London  AthenoBum  has  said :  "  It  is  the  best  book  of  its 
kind  in  the  EngUsh  language." 

By  his  will,  he  left  to  Magdalene  College,  Cambridge,  the  Pepy- 
sian  Library  of  some  three  thousand  volumes.  This  collection  is 
kept  in  a  separate  building,  and  contains  manuscript  of  his  cele- 
brated diary,  together  with  many  rare  and  curious  documents, 
including  the  love  letters  of  Henry  VIII  to  Anne  Boleyn,  a  collec- 
tion of  Scottish  poetry  and  ancient  English  ballads.  The  diary, 
which  was  deciphered  from  the  author's  shorthand  notes,  is  yet  a 
popular  book  and  is  of  standard  importance  to  English  Uter^ture, 
reflecting,  as  it  does,  the  court,  times,  characters,  and  peculiarities 
of  the  age  of  Charles  II. 

Will  of  Cecil  John  Rhodes 

Cecil  John  Rhodes,  of  Cape  Town,  South  Africa,  who  died  in 
1902,  was  a  South  African  statesman  and  financier;  an  affection 
of  the  lungs  necessitated  his  leaving  England  when  a  young  man, 
and  he  acquired  fame  and  wealth  in  the  home  of  his  adoption. 
Rhodes's  mode  of  life  was  the  subject  of  diverse  criticism ;  he  was 
regarded  as  a  man  actuated  by  selfish  motives,  and  preeminently, 
a  man  of  money,  but  by  his  will,  he  left  nearly  his  entire  fortune 
to  educational  purposes ;  his  scholarships  have  commanded  the 
admiration  of  the  world,  and  former  estimates  of  his  character  were 
modified.  Certain  portions  of  this  remarkable  will,  taken  from 
Mr.  Remsen's  excellent  work,  follow : 

"I,  The  Right  Honourable  Cecil  John  Rhodes  of  Cape  Town  in 
the  Colony  of  the  Cape  of  Good  Hope,  hereby  revoke  all  testamen- 
tary dispositions  heretofore  made  by  me  and  declare  this  to  be  my 
last  Will  which  I  make  this  first  day  of  July  1899. 

"1.  I  am  a  natural-born  British  subject  and  I  now  declare  that 
I  have  adopted  and  acquired  and  hereby  adopt  and  acquire  and 
intend  to  retain  Rhodesia  as  my  domicile. 

"2.  I  appoint  (naming  seven  persons)  to  be  the  Executors  and 
Trustees  of  my  Will  and  they  and  the  survivors  of  them  or  other 


ANCIENT,   CURIOUS,  AND  FAMOUS  WILLS      295 

the  Trustees  for  the  time  being  of  my  Will  are  hereinafter  called 
*My  Trustees,' 

"3.  I  admire  the  grandeur  and  loneliness  of  the  Matoppos  in 
Rhodesia  and  therefore  I  desire  to  be  buried  in  the  Matoppos  on 
the  hill  which  I  used  to  visit  and  which  I  called  the  'View  of  the 
World'  in  a  square  to  be  cut  in  the  rock  on  the  top  of  the  hill 
covered  with  a  plain  brass  plate  these  words  thereon  —  '  Here  lie 
the  remains  of  Cecil  John  Rhodes'  and  accordingly  I  direct  my 
Executors  at  the  expense  of  my  estate  to  take  steps  and  do  all 
things  necessary  or  proper  to  give  effect  to  this  my  desire  and  after- 
wards to  keep  my  grave  in  order  at  the  expense  of  the  Matoppos 
and  Bulawayo  fund  hereinafter  mentioned." 

The  testator  gives  certain  pecuniary  legacies,  directs  the  erection 
or  completion  of  a  monument  on  the  said  hill  in  memory  of  certain 
dead,  and  provides  for  interments  thereon.  He  provides  for  the 
cultivation  of  certain  of  his  lands  "for  the  instruction  of  the  people 
of  Rhodesia,"  the  establishment  of  a  park,  "planted  with  every 
possible  tree,"  with  funds  for  their  maintenance. 

He  places  in  trust  certain  property  for  the  use  of  his  brothers 
and  sisters  with  gift  over.  He  gives  his  college  in  the  University 
of  Oxford  a  sum  of  money  for  the  erection  of  new  college  buildings 
and  other  purposes.  He  provides,  by  means  of  a  trust,  for  the  use 
of  his  residence  and  grounds  at  Cape  Town  as  a  public  park  until 
the  Federal  Government  of  the  State  of  South  Africa  shall  be 
founded,  and  thereafter  as  the  residence  of  the  Prime  Minister 
in  that  government. 

After  reciting  his  educational  views  and  desire  to  promote  unity 
among  the  English-speaking  people  throughout  the  world,  the  tes- 
tator provides  for  the  establishment  of  certain  scholarships  at  the 
University  of  Oxford,  for  the  benefit  of  students  for  British  Colonies 
and  the  United  States  of  America.  To  this,  by  codicil,  he  sub- 
sequently added  certain  scholarships  for  the  benefit  of  German 
students.  He  also  prescribes  certain  rules  and  regulations  for  the 
election  of  students  to  such  scholarships. 

"36.  My  trustees  shall  invest  the  scholarship  fund  and  the  other 
funds  hereinbefore  established  or  any  part  thereof  respectively  in 
such  investments  in  any  part  of  the  world,  as  they  shall  in  their 
uncontrolled  discretion  think  fit  and  that  without  regard  to  any 
rules  of  equity  governing  investments  by  trustees  and  without  any 
responsibility  or  liability  should  they  commit  any  breach  of  any 
such  rule,  with  power  to  vary  any  such  investments  for  others  of 
a  like  nature." 


296      ANCIENT,  CURIOUS,  AND  FAMOUS  WILLS 

"37.  Investments  to  bearer  held  as  an  investment,  may  be 
deposited  by  my  Trustees  for  safe  custody  in  their  names  with  any 
banker  or  banking  company  or  with  any  company  whose  business 
it  is  to  take  charge  of  investments  of  that  nature  and  my  trustees 
shall  not  be  responsible  for  any  loss  incurred  in  consequence  of 
such  deposit." 

"40.  I  give  the  residue  of  my  real  and  personal  estate  unto  such 
of  them  the  said  (persons  who  are  named  as  Executors  and  Trus- 
tees,) as  shall  be  living  at  my  death  absolutely  and  if  more  than 
one  as  joint  tenants." 

"41.  My  Trustees  in  the  administration  of  the  trust  business 
may  instead  of  acting  personally,  employ  and  pay  a  Secretary  or 
Agent  to  transact  all  business  and  do  all  acts  required  to  be  done 
in  the  trust  including  the  receipt  and  payment  of  money." 

"42.  My  intention  is  that  there  shall  be  always  at  least  three 
Trustees  of  my  Will  so  far  as  it  relates  to  the  Scholarship  Trusts 
and  therefore  I  direct  that  whenever  there  shall  be  less  than  three 
Trustees,  a  new  Trustee  or  new  Trustees  shall  be  forthwith  ap- 
pointed." 

"In  witness  whereof  I  have  hereunto  set  my  hand  the  day  and 
year  first  above  written. 

"C.  J.  Rhodes." 
(Subscribed  by  three  witnesses.) 


There  is  a  long  codicil  to  the  will  wherein  the  testator  devises 
in  tail  his  palatial  home,  known  as  "The  Delham  Hall  Estate" 
and  makes  disposition  of  his  great  treasures  in  heirlooms,  in  and 
about  Delham  Hall. 

Will  of  Cardinal  Richelieu 

This  very  interesting  and  remarkable  will  is  extremely  rare  to 
find,  although  the  copy  from  which  we  take  it  was  in  print,  having 
been  preserved,  among  many  other  curious  papers,  by  M.  Bouree, 
of  Chatillon;  docketed  along  with  it  was  a  collection  of  isolated 
papers,  all  more  or  less  piquants,  relating  to  the  famous  and  formi- 
dable cardinal,  and  consisting  of  satirical  verses,  epitaphs,  lampoons, 
parasitical  flatteries,  apologies,  etc.  There  is  also  a  rough  copy  of 
a  billet  d'enterrement,  apparently  drawn  up  with  the  intention  of 
being  distributed  to  the  court  to  invite  them  to  the  funeral. 


ANCIENT,   CURIOUS,  AND  FAMOUS  WILLS      297 

Our  readers  will  no  doubt  peruse  with  curiosity  the  last  wishes 
of  this  pompous  and  magnificent  minister,  who  contrived  to  rehabil- 
itate himself  after  an  early  disgrace,  to  maintain  his  proud  suprem- 
acy to  the  last,  and  to  die  bequeathing  gifts  to  his  sovereign  and 
master. 

Of  his  luxury  and  extravagance,  his  nepotism  so  costly  to  the 
country,  his  assumption  of  power,  and  the  art  with  which  he  knew 
how  to  make  himself  obeyed  and  feared  by  all  classes  and  condi- 
tions of  men,  history  amply  informs  us  in  details  scarcely  credible 
at  the  present  day ;  and  that  it  was  he  who  by  his  despotism  and 
tyranny  laid  the  foundations  of  that  terrible  revolution,  which 
blasted  the  face  of  the  country  and  cast  its  fatal  blight,  more  or 
less  fatally,  over  the  whole  civilized  world,  none  are  likely  to  forget. 

If  we  wanted  an  instance  of  pomp,  unexampled  even  in  the  his- 
tory of  the  Roman  Empire,  of  uncompromising  consideration  as 
claimed  by  and  accorded  to  this  parvenu  prince,  whose  personal 
expenses  are  estimated  at  more  than  a  thousand  crowns  a  day  — 
considerably  more  than  the  monarch  he  served  had  at  his  private 
disposal  —  we  may  find  it  in  the  narrative  of  his  (happily)  last 
journey  from  Tarascon  to  Paris.  It  is  to  be  regretted  the  famous 
Tarasque  had  not  broken  loose  that  day  and  devoured  him  before 
he  started  on  his  egotistical  expedition. 

Pronouncing  himself  unable  to  bear  the  fatigue  of  saddle,  car- 
riage, or  litter,  he  ordered  a  room  to  be  built  of  light  boards  cov- 
ered with  crimson  satin  damask,  which  was  to  be  furnished  with  a 
bed,  two  chairs,  and  a  table  for  his  secretary ;  this  movable  house 
was  hoisted  on  the  shoulders  of  eighteen  of  the  cardinal's  guards, 
to  be  relieved  at  stated  distances ;  they  were  to  walk  on  bareheaded, 
no  matter  what  weather,  and  it  was  during  the  month  of  August, 
or  about  the  hottest  season  in  France. 

When  this  singular  cortege  —  for  the  cardinal  was  followed  by 
carriages  containing  his  numerous  suite  —  arrived  at  the  towns 
he  had  to  pass  through,  they  found  the  walls  and  gates  already 
demolished  and  cleared  away  by  the  direction  of  a  vanguard  of 
attendants  sent  on  before  to  see  that  room  was  made  for  his  Emi- 
nence to  pass  without  delay  or  interruption. 

When  he  reached  Paris,  chains  were  stretched  along  both  sides 
of  the  streets  to  keep  back  the  people  who  crowded  them  to  con- 
template in  wonder  and  silent  awe  the  despot,  who  a  few  days 
before,  had  hurried  to  the  scaffold  the  youthful  Cinq-Mars  and 
his  virtuous  friend  De  Thou. 


298      ANCIENT,   CURIOUS,  AND  FAMOUS  WILLS 

This  sight  made  a  profound  and  lasting  impression  on  the  youth- 
ful Bossuet,  who,  being  on  that  day  fifteen  years  of  age,  arrived  in 
Paris  for  the  first  time. 

It  would  be  superfluous  to  cite  this  will  in  its  entirety ;  we  there- 
fore only  transcribe  such  passages  as  we  feel  will  be  of  general 
interest,  and  these  we  give  verbatim. 

It  is  dated  Narbonne,  23d  of  May,  1642,  and  bears  the  signature 
of  Pierre  Falconis,  notaire  royal.  It  is  contained  in  twelve  quarto 
pages  of  very  close  printing. 

After  two  paragraphs  of  pious  preamble  and  directions  for  his 
funeral,  it  proceeds  to  appoint  to  his  niessce,  Madame  la  Duchesse 
d'Eguillon  (sic),  all  the  cash  in  gold  and  silver  he  might  possess 
at  his  decease,  except  a  sum  of  1,500,000  livres  to  be  placed  in  the 
hands  of  his  Majesty  immediately  on  his  death  for  a  purpose  he 
will  explain  farther  on.  It  then  goes  on  to  declare  that  by  contract 
he  had  given  to  the  Crown  "...  Mon  grand  hostel  que  j'ai 
basti  sous  le  nom  de  Palais  Cardinal,  ma  chapelle  d'or  enrichie  de 
diamans,  mon  buffet  d'argent  cisele,  et  un  grand  diamant  que  j'ai 
achete  a  Lopez,  toutes  lesquelles  choses  le  roi  a  eu  agreable  par  sa 
bonte  d'accepter  a  ma  trez  humble  et  tres  instante  supplica- 
tion. .  .  . 

"Je  supplie  S.  M.  d'avoir  agreables  huit  tentures  de  tapisserie 
et  trois  lits  que  je  prie  Madame  la  Duchesse  d'Eguillon,  ma  niessce, 
et  M.  de  Noyers  de  choisir  entre  mes  meubles,  pour  servir  a  une 
partie  de  I'ameublement  des  principaux  appartemens  du  dit  Palais 
Cardinal. 

"Comme  aussi  je  la  supplie  d'agreer  la  donation  que  je  lui  fais 
en  outre  de  I'hostel  qui  est  devant  le  Palais  Cardinal,  lequel  j'ai 
acquis  de  feu  M.  le  Commandeur  de  Sillery,  pour  au  lieu  d'icelui 
faire  une  place  au  devant  du  dit  palais. 

"Je  supplie  aussi  tres  humblement  S.  M.  de  trouver  bon  que 
Ton  lui  mette  entre  les  mains  la  somme  de  1,500,000  livres  dont 
j'ay  fait  mention  cy-dessus,  de  laquelle  somme  je  puis  dire  avec 
verite  de  m'estre  servi  tres  utilement  aux  plus  grandes  affaires 
de  son  estat,  en  sort  que  si  je  n'eusse  eu  cet  argent  a  ma  disposition 
quelques  affaires  qui  ont  bien  succede  eussent  apparemment  mal 
reussi,  ce  qui  me  donne  sujet  d'oser  supplier  S.  M.  de  destiner  ceste 
somme  que  je  lui  laisse,  pour  employer  en  di verses  occasions,  qui  ne 
peuvent  souffrir  la  longueur  des  formes  de  finance." 

He  then  orders  all  his  property,  whether  in  esse  or  in  posse,  to 
be  distributed  as  follows.     The  list  supplies  some  idea  of  the  shame- 


ANCIENT,   CURIOUS,   AND  FAMOUS  WILLS      299 

less  extent  to  which  this  man,  who  began  life  without  any  kind  of 
fortune,  enriched  himself  at  the  expense  of  the  State. 

"Je  donne  et  legue  a  Armand  de  Maille,  mon  nepveu  et  fileul, 
fils  d'Arban  de  Maille,  Marquis  de  Breze,  Mareschal  de  France, 
et  de  Nicole  du  Plessis,  ma  seconde  soeur,  et  en  ce  je  I'institue  mon 
heritier  pour  les  droicts  qu'il  pourrait  prendre  en  toutes  les  terres 
et  autres  qui  se  trouveront  en  ma  succession  ainsi  que  s'ensuit." 

These  biens  consisted  of  (for  the  share  of  this  nephew  alone) 
the  duclic  et  pairie  of  Fronsac  et  Caumont ;  of  the  lands  and  Mar- 
quisate  of  Graville;  of  the  county  of  Beaufort  en  Vallee;  of  the 
lands  and  barony  of  Fresne ;  of  300,000  livres  deposited  at  the 
Chateau  de  Saumur ;  and  of  the  Jerme  des  poids  de  Normandie, 
the  returns  from  which  amount  to  50,000  livres  annually. 

Next  comes  the  before-named  niece  who,  over  and  above  the 
biens  settled  on  her  at  her  marriage,  was  to  have  " .  .  .  la  maison 
oil  elle  loge  a  present,  nomme  le  Petit  Luxembourg,  joignant  le 
palais  de  la  reine,  mere  du  roi ;  ma  maison  et  ma  terre  de  Ruel ; 
le  domaine  de  Pontoise ;  la  rente  que  j'ay  a  prendre  sur  les  cinq 
grosses  fermes  de  France  qui  monte  a  60,000  livres  par  an. 

"Item :  A  ma  dite  niessce,  tons  les  cristaux,  tableaux,  et  autres 
pieces  qui  sont  dans  le  cabinet  principal  de  la  dite  maison  le  Petit 
Luxembourg,  sans  y  comprendre  I'argenterie  du  bufifet  dont  j'ay 
deja  dispose. 

"Item:  Je  lui  donne  aussi  toutes  mes  bagues  et  pierreries  a 
I'exception  seulement  de  ce  que  j'ay  laisse  a  la  Couronne,  ensemble 
Tin  buffet  d'argent  vermeil  dore  neuf,  pesant  535  marcs  4  gros, 
contenu  en  deux  coffres  faits  exprez." 

The  next  legatee  is  his  nephew,  Francois  de  Vignerot,  to  whom 
he  leaves  first  the  sum  of  200,000  livres  on  condition  that  he  shall 
lay  it  out  in  the  purchase  of  an  estate,  to  enjoy  it  during  his  life- 
time, and  after  his  decease  to  go  to  Armand,  his  eldest  son,  or  to 
whichever  of  his  sons  succeeds  to  the  title  of  Due  de  Richelieu. 
He  leaves  him  further  his  duche-pairie  de  Richelieu  with  the  ap- 
purtenances, dependencies,  and  lands  thereto  belonging. 

Item :  The  lands  and  barony  of  Barbezieux ; 

Item  :  The  lands  and  principality  of  Mortagne ; 

Item :  The  county  of  Cosnac,  the  baronies  of  Coze,  Laugeon 
and  d'Alvas,  the  domain  of  Hiers  en  Brouage,  the  hostel  of  Riche- 
lieu planned  and  ordered  to  be  built  adjoining  the  Palais  Cardinal. 

Item :  The  tapestries  representing  the  history  of  Lucretia, 
bought  of  M.  le  Due  de  Chevreuse,  with  all  the  figures,  statues. 


SOO      ANCIENT,   CURIOUS,  AND  FAMOUS  WILLS 

busts,  pictures,  crystals,  cabinets,  tables,  and  other  furniture  at 
present  in  the  conciergerie  of  the  Palais  Cardinal,  in  order  worthily 
to  furnish  and  adorn  the  said  Hostel  de  Richelieu,  when  it  shall  be 
completed ;  and  besides  these  all  other  movables  or  immovables, 
claims  upon  the  king  or  his  domains,  and  generally  all  property 
not  as  yet  disposed  of  by  this  will ;  but  all  and  only  on  the  condi- 
tion that  he  shall  assume  the  sole  name  of  Du  Plessis  Richelieu, 
and  that  neither  he  nor  his  descendants  shall  ever  be  known  by 
any  other,  or  quarter  any  other  arms,  under  the  following  pen- 
alties. .  .  . 

To  this  nephew,  the  cardinal  also  leaves  his  library,  but  with 
the  proviso  that  it  is  to  be  at  the  service  of  all  members  of  the  fam- 
ily, and  also  of  the  public ;  and  he  desires,  therefore,  that  on  his 
decease,  a  full  and  complete  catalogue  be  made  under  the  direc- 
tions of  his  executors,  who  are  to  call  to  their  assistance  two  Doctors 
of  the  Sorbonne,  who  shall  be  present  during  the  making  of  the  said 
inventory ;  which,  being  made  in  duplicate,  one  copy  was  to  be 
deposited  in  his  own  library,  signed  by  his  executors  and  by  the 
said  Doctors  of  the  Sorbonne ;  and  the  other  copy,  similarly  signed, 
in  the  Sorbonne  itself. 

There  are  further  conditions  attached  to  the  ownership  of  the 
library,  viz.,  that  a  librarian  shall  be  appointed  at  a  salary  of  one 
thousand  livres  per  annum ;  three  candidates  having  first  been 
chosen  by  the  Sorbonne  and  nominated  by  his  successors.  He 
desires  further  that  a  person  shall  be  kept  to  sweep  out  the  library 
every  day,  and  to  beat,  dust,  and  wipe  the  books  at  stated  and 
frequent  intervals,  at  a  yearly  wage  of  four  hundred  livres.  He 
also  stipulates  that  one  thousand  livres  shall  be  put  by  every  year 
for  the  purchase  of  additional  books. 

He  explains  that  his  "niessce  la  Duchesse  d'Enghien"  having 
displeased  him  by  her  marriage,  he  leaves  her  nothing,  "moyen- 
nant  ce  que  je  lui  ai  donne  en  dot,  dont  je  veux  et  ordonne  qu'elle 
se  contente." 

After  several  clauses  relating  to  the  edifice  of  the  Sorbonne,  to 
his  burial,  to  several  constructions  to  be  added  to  the  Hostel  de 
Richelieu,  and  to  a  legacy  of  sixty  thousand  livres  to  the  "vingt 
peres  de  la  mission  etablie  a  Richelieu,"  he  adds  a  very  character- 
istic clause  as  follows : 

"Et  d'autant  plus  qu'il  a  plu  a  Dieu  benir  mes  travaux  et  les 
faire  considerer  par  le  roy  mon  bon  maistre,  en  les  reconnoissant 
par  sa  munificence  royale,  audessus  de  ce  que  je  pouvoir  esperer. 


ANCIENT,   CURIOUS,   AND   FAMOUS  WILLS      301 

j'ay  estime,  en  faisant  ma  disposition  presente,  devoir  obliger  mes 
heritiers  a  conserver  Tetablissement  que  j'ay  fait  en  ma  famille, 
en  sorte  qu'elle  se  puisse  maintenir  longuement  en  la  dignite  et 
splendeur  qu'il  a  plu  au  roi  lui  donner,  afin  que  la  posterite  connoisse 
que  si  je  I'ay  servi  fidellement,  il  a  sgu  par  une  vertu  toute  royale 
m'aymer  et  me  eombler  de  ses  bienfaits."  And  here  follow  certain 
conditions  which  need  not  be  detailed. 

In  the  next  clause  the  pride  of  family  crops  up  again:  "Je 
defends  a  mes  heritiers  de  prendre  alliance  en  des  maisons  qui  ne 
soient  pas  vrayement  nobles,  les  laissant  assez  a  leurs  aise  pour 
avoir  plus  d'egards  a  la  naissance  et  a  la  vertu  qu'aux  commodites 
€t  aux  biens." 

The  clause  relating  to  servants  and  their  bequests  is  worth 
quoting,  as  testimony  to  the  magnijBcence  of  his  Eminence's 
retinue : 

"Pour  marque  de  la  satisfaction  que  j'ay  des  services  qui  m'ont 
este  rendus  par  mes  domestiques  et  serviteurs  je  donne  au  Sieur 
Didier,  mon  aumosnier,  1500  liv. ;  au  Sieur  de  Bar,  10,000  liv. ; 
au  Sieur  de  Manse,  6000  liv. ;  au  Sieur  de  Belesbat,  parceque  je 
ne  lui  ay  encore  rien  donne,  10,000  liv. ;  a  Beaugensi,  3000  liv. ; 
a  Estoublon,  3000  liv. ;  au  Sieur  de  Marsal,  3000  liv. ;  au  Sieur  de 
Palvoisin,  parceque  je  ne  lui  ay  jusques  icy  rien  donne,  12,000  Hv. ; 
a  Grenille,  2000  hv. ;  a  Blouin,  6000  hv. ;  au  Sieur  Cytois,  6000 
liv. ;  au  Sieur  Renaudot,  2000  hv. ;  a  Bertereau,  6000  hv. ;  a 
Des  Bomais,  mon  valet  de  chambre,  6000  hv,,  et  je  desire  qu'il 
demeure  concierge,  soutz  mon  petit  neveu,  du  Pont  de  Courlay, 
dans  le  Palais  Cardinal ;  au  Cousin,  6000  liv. ;  a  I'Espolette  et  a 
Prevost,  chacun  3000  hv. ;  a  Picot,  6000  hv. ;  a  Robert,  3000  hv. ; 
au  Sieur  de  Graves  et  de  Saint-Leger,  mes  escuyers,  chacun  3000 
liv. ;  et  en  outre,  mes  deux  carosses  avec  leurs  deux  attelages  de 
chevaux,  ma  litiere  et  les  trois  mulcts  qui  y  servent,  pour  estre 
egalement  partages  entre  mes  dits  deux  escuyers ;  a  Chamarante 
et  Du  Plessis,  chacun  3000  liv.;  a  Vilandry,  1500  hv. ;  a  De 
Roques,  dixhuit  chevaux  d'escole,  apres  que  les  douze  meilleurs 
de  mon  escurie  auront  este  choisies  par  mes  parents;  au  Sieur  de 
Fortes  Cuieres,  6000  hv. ;  a  Grandpre,  capitaine  de  Richeheu, 
3000  liv. ;  a  la  Jeunesse,  concierge  de  Richelieu,  5000  liv. ;  au 
petit  Mulat,  qui  escrit  soutz  le  Sieur  Charpentier,  mon  secretaire, 
1500  hv. ;  a  la  Garde,  3000  hv. ;  a  mon  premier  cuisinier,  2000 
liv. ;  a  mon  credencier,  2000  liv. ;  a  mon  premier  cocher,  1500  hv. ; 
a  mon  premier  muletier,  1200  liv. ;  a  chacun  de  mes  valets  de  pied. 


302      ANCIENT,   CURIOUS,  AND  FAMOUS  WILLS 

600  liv. ;  et  generalement  a  tous  les  autres  officiers  de  ma  maison 
scavoir :  de  la  cuisine  sommeliers  et  escuyers,  chacun  six  annees 
de  leurs  gages  outre  ce  qui  leur  sera  deu  jusques  au  jour  de  moa 
decez. 

"  Je  ne  donne  rien  au  Sieur  Charpentier,  mon  secretaire,  parceque 
j'ay  eu  soin  de  lui  faire  du  bien  pendant  ma  vie;  mais  je  veux 
rendre  ce  temoignage  de  luy,  que  durant  le  longtemps  qu'il  m'a 
servy,  je  n'ay  poinct  connu  de  plus  homme  de  bien,  ny  de  plus 
loyal  et  plus  sincere  serviteur. 

"Je  ne  donne  rien  aussi  au  Sieur  Cherre,  mon  autre  secretaire, 
parceque  je  le  laisse  assez  accommode,  estant  neanmoins  satisfait 
des  services  qu'il  m'a  rendus. 

"Je  donne  au  baron  de  Broye,  heritier  du  feu  Sieur  Barbin, 
que  j'ay  sceu  estre  en  necessite,  la  somme  de  30,000  livres." 

The  remainder  of  the  will  consists  of  various,  and  we  may  add 
very  numerous,  formalities,  signatures  of  witnesses,  etc. 

It  is  a  curious  fact  that,  on  the  death  of  the  last  surviving 
descendant  of  the  Du  Plessis  family,  17th  of  May,  1822 — a  man, 
be  it  observed,  of  singular  probity  and  true  grandeur  of  character 
—  the  colossal  fortune  amassed  by  the  cardinal  had  dwindled  down 
to  such  small  proportions  that  all  that  remained  of  it  was  swallowed 
up  in  paying  off  the  debts  of  his  profligate  father,  and  of  his  grand- 
father, the  notorious  Due  de  Richelieu  who  figures  so  largely  in  the 
"Chronique  Scandaleuse  "  of  his  day. 

Will  of  Jean  Jacques  Rousseau 

Although  Rousseau's  will  was  made  in  1737,  it  remained  unknown 
to  the  world  until  1820.  It  never  was  executed,  nor  ever  became 
an  effectual  or  a  legal  document;  but  it  is,  nevertheless,  curious 
as  testifying  to  the  state  of  mind  of  the  writer  and  the  fervent 
sentiments  of  piety  he  entertained  at  the  age  of  twenty-five. 

The  original,  which  is  well  authenticated,  was  found  in  the  garret 
of  an  old  house  at  Chambery.  It  was  among  the  forgotten  minutes 
of  a  former  notary  of  that  town,  named  Rivoire,  and  occupied 
pages  104,  105,  and  106  of  the  minute.  It  is  dated  June  7, 1737  — 
a  day  on  which,  as  stated  in  the  will,  Rousseau  met  with  an  accident 
which  obliged  him  to  keep  his  bed,  and  having  a  bandage  on  his 
forehead  covering  his  eyes,  was  thus  prevented  signing  his  will ; 
though,  says  the  notary,  "sain  de  ses  sens  ainsi  qu'il  a  paru  par 
la  suite  et  soHdite  de  ses  raisonnements."     It  seems  to  have  been  a 


ANCIENT,   CURIOUS,   AND  FAMOUS  WILLS      303 

case  of  "The  devil  was  sick,"  etc.,  and  the  will  appears  to  be  such 
as  Rousseau  was  not  likely  to  have  written  at  any  other  moment. 

The  deed  was  received  at  the  house  of  M.  Le  Comte  de  St. 
Laurent,  Controleur-general  des  finances  de  S.  M.  le  Roi  de  Sar- 
daigne,  inhabited  at  the  time  by  Madame  Warens,  who  afterwards 
occupied  so  large  a  place  in  the  life  of  Rousseau. 

The  testator,  after  making  the  sign  of  the  Cross,  recommending 
his  soul  to  God,  and  begging  the  intercession  of  the  holy  Virgin 
and  of  SS.  John  and  James,  his  patrons,  professes  his  intention  of 
living  and  dying  in  the  faith  of  the  Catholic  apostolic  and  Roman 
Church.  He  leaves  his  obsequies  to  the  discretion  of  his  heiress, 
and  charges  her  to  see  that  prayers  are  offered  for  the  repose  of  his 
soul. 

After  these  preliminaries  he  bequeaths  16  livres  to  each  of  the 
Convents  of  the  Capuchins,  the  Augustinians,  and  the  Clares  of 
Chambery,  that  they  may  celebrate  masses  for  the  repose  of  his 
soul. 

He  bequeaths  his  patrimony  to  his  father,  praying  him  to  be 
content  therewith  as  gratitude  renders  it  his  duty  to  dispose  of  his 
other  possessions  in  favor  of  his  benefactors. 

He  leaves  100  livres  to  the  Sieur  Jacques  Barillot  of  Geneva; 
he  appoints  as  his  heir  Madame  Frangoise-Louise  de  la  Tom* 
Comtesse  de  Warens,  to  whom  he  declares  it  his  wish  to  pay  over 
and  above  this,  the  sum  of  2000  livres  to  cover  the  expenses  of  his 
board  during  ten  years.  Finally  he  recognizes  a  debt  of  700  livres 
in  favor  of  the  Sieur  Charbonnel,  a  tradesman  of  Chambery,  for 
goods  delivered  and  money  lent. 

The  will  is  signed  by  Claude  Morel  (procureur  au  senat),  Antoine 
Bonne  des  Echelles,  Jacques  Gros  de  Vanzy,  Antoine  Bouvard, 
Pierre  Catagnole  and  Pierre  Cordonnier.  The  seventh  witness, 
Antoine  Forraz  de  Bissy,  is  declared  "illitere."  This  act  was 
registered  22d  of  July,  1737,  in  fol.  662  of  the  second  book  of  the 
year  1737. 

According  to  all  appearance  this  will  was  not  engrossed,  and 
Rousseau,  whose  life  was  so  checkered,  and  who  so  often  changed 
his  domicile,  probably  forgot  all  about  it,  and  about  the  accident 
which  occasioned  it,  when  he  drew  up  his  Confessions. 

The  Journal  de  Savoie,  under  date  7th  of  April,  1820,  supplies 
some  curious  particulars  as  to  the  minutes  of  the  above-named 
notary,  Rivoire,  among  which  were  found  a  power  of  attorney  to 
Jacques  Barillot  by  Rousseau,  to  withdraw  at  Geneva  the  rights 


304      ANCIENT,   CURIOUS,  AND  FAMOUS  WILLS 

of  his  mother  Suzanne  Bernard.     This  document  is  dated  12th  of 
July,  1737,  and  registered  on  the  15th  of  the  same  month. 

Rousseau,  born  at  Geneva,  28th  of  June,  1712,  died  at  Ermenon- 
ville,  2d  of  July,  1778. 

Will  of  Lord  St.  Leonards 

The  necessity  that  there  should  be  some  better  fashion  for  the 
safe  keeping  of  wills,  during  the  lifetime  of  testators,  than  at 
present  exists,  is,  perhaps,  more  vividly  portrayed  in  the  case  of  the 
late  Lord  St.  Leonards  than  in  any  other  on  record.  In  this  case 
we  have  the  loss  of  the  will,  not  only,  of  one  of  the  astutest  of 
lawyers,  the  most  orthodox  of  conveyancers,  but  of  a  man  who  had 
made  it  his  chief  pleasure  and  study  during  the  last  four  years  of 
his  life  to  provide  for  the  disposition  of  his  worldly  wealth,  when 
his  Creator  should  summon  away  his  spirit  from  earth,  and  return 
his  mortal  frame  to  the  dust  from  which  He  had  made  it.  More- 
over, the  testator  is  no  less  a  person  than  the  very  ingenious  con- 
veyancer. Lord  Chancellor  of  England,  and  author  himself  of  that 
famous  "  Handy -book,"  in  which  men  are  exhorted  in  the  most 
convincing  manner  to  make  due  and  thorough  disposition  of  their 
earthly  possessions.  Here,  during  the  years  he  had  been  engaged 
in  making  his  will,  the  greatest  care  was  evinced  for  the  preserva- 
tion of  the  precious  document,  as  it  was  not  only  kept  locked  up 
in  a  box,  but  during  his  Lordship's  illness  the  Honorable  Miss 
Charlotte  Sugden,  his  daughter,  took  charge  of  the  box  and  re- 
tained it  in  her  custody  until  her  father  should  be  able  to  leave  his 
room,  when  it  was  replaced  by  her  in  its  ordinary  position,  and 
where  it  remained  until  his  last  illness,  when  she  again  took  charge 
of  it,  and  in  whose  custody  it  continued  until  his  Lordship's  death 
in  January,  1875.  After  the  solemn  ceremony  of  the  funeral  this 
well-cared-for  box  was  opened,  but,  alas  !  the  will  was  not  there. 
How  this  strange  circumstance  occurred  no  one  has  been  able  to 
furnish  any  information ;  but  the  loss  gave  rise  to  litigation  of  the 
most  serious  character  in  the  Court  of  Probate.  The  triumph 
gained  in  that  court  by  Miss  Sugden  in  establishing  a  will,  carrying 
out  the  wishes  of  her  father,  on  the  simple  basis  of  her  recollection 
of  the  contents  of  the  lost  document,  is  as  wondrous  an  achieve- 
ment as  any  one  well  could  imagine,  and  testifies  to  the  grave 
respect  with  which  her  evidence  must  have  been  regarded  by  the 
searching  judgment  and  scrutinizing  eye  of  the  learned  judge. 


ANCIENT,   CURIOUS,  AND  FAMOUS  WILLS      305 

Notwithstanding  all  this,  the  loss  of  the  will  has  not  escaped  the 
attendance  of  great  and  grievous  evils,  unnecessary  to  be  related. 

The  judge  having  in  a  most  eloquent  manner  reviewed  the  case, 
as  elucidated  by  the  pleadings  of  the  very  learned  counsel  engaged 
on  the  trial,  most  admirably  concluded  his  summing-up  with  the 
following  remarks : 

"Now  let  me  call  attention  to  a  passage  in  one  of  Lord  St. 
Leonards'  own  works  which  has  a  bearing  upon  this  subject,  and  it 
shows  how  the  wisest  of  men  may  be  mistaken,  as  I  think,  in  the 
advice  which  they  give  to  others.  And  I  may  say  this  case  illus- 
trates the  false  security  in  which  Lord  St.  Leonards  lived,  and  in 
which  I  dare  say  we  all  of  us  live.  With  the  other  members  of  his 
family,  he  lived  in  the  belief  that  his  Will  was  secure  from  the 
hands  and  eyes  of  either  the  curious  or  the  dishonest.  It  was 
thought  that  the  only  means  of  access  to  it  was  by  the  only  key 
which  Lord  St.  Leonards  carried  about  him ;  and  that  there  was 
no  means  of  access  to  the  duplicate  key,  which  would  open  the 
Will-box,  and  yet  it  turned  out  that  there  were  no  less  than  four 
keys  in  the  house  by  which  anybody  might  have  opened  the 
escritoire  in  which  the  duplicate  key  was  kept,  and  so  have  ob- 
tained possession  of  it.  Believing  as  I  do  that  this  Will  has  been 
lost,  and  not  destroyed  by  the  testator,  and  that  the  loss  has 
arisen  from  its  insecure  custody,  though  that  custody  seemed  to 
all  concerned  to  be  perfectly  safe,  it  is  well  that  it  should  be  known 
and  I  particularly  desire  that  it  should  be  known  to  the  public, 
that  the  law  has  provided  a  means  of  obtaining  as  nearly  a  cer- 
tainty as  can  be  obtained  in  human  affairs  that  a  Will  will  be  forth- 
coming at  the  death  of  the  testator.   .   .   . 

"The  result  is  that  I  find  as  a  fact,  that  the  Will  of  1870  was 
duly  executed  and  attested;  that  the  several  codicils  also  were 
duly  executed  and  attested ;  that  the  Will  was  not  revoked  by  the 
testator;  and  I  further  find  that  the  contents  of  the  Will  were, 
with  the  exception  I  have  mentioned,  as  set  out  in  the  declara- 
tion." 

Will  of  William  Shakespere 

"Vicesimo  quinto  die  Martii,  Anno  Regni  Domini  nostri  Jacobi 
nunc  Regis  Anglise,  &c.,  decimo  quarto,  et  Scotise  quadragesimo 
nono.     Anno  Domini  1616. 

"In  the  name  of  God,  Amen.  I,  William  Shakespere,  of  Strat- 
ford-upon-Avon,   in   the   county   of   Warwick,    gent.,   in   perfect 


306      ANCIENT,   CURIOUS,  AND  FAMOUS  WILLS 

health  and  memory,  (God  be  praised  !)  do  make  and  ordain  this 
my  last  Will  and  testament  in  manner  and  form  following;  that 
is  to  say: 

"First,  I  commend  my  soul  into  the  hands  of  God  my  creator, 
hoping,  and  assuredly  believing  through  the  only  merits  of  Jesus 
Christ  my  Saviour,  to  be  made  partaker  of  life  everlasting ;  and 
my  body  to  the  earth  whereof  it  is  made. 

"Item:  I  give  and  bequeath  unto  my  daughter  Judith  one 
hundred  and  fifty  pounds  of  lawful  English  money,  to  be  paid  unto 
her  in  manner  and  form  following;  that  is  to  say,  one  hundred 
pounds  in  discharge  of  her  marriage  portion  within  one  year  after 
my  decease,  with  consideration  after  the  rate  of  two  shillings  in 
the  pound  for  so  long  time  as  the  same  shall  be  unpaid  unto  her 
after  my  decease ;  and  the  fifty  pounds  residue  thereof,  upon  her 
surrendering  of,  or  giving  of  such  suflBcient  security  as  the  over- 
seers of  this  my  Will  shall  like  of,  to  surrender  or  grant,  all  her 
estate  and  right  that  shall  descend  or  come  unto  her  after  my 
decease,  or  that  she  now  hath,  of,  in,  or  to,  one  copyhold  tenement, 
with  the  appurtenances,  lying  and  being  in  Stratford-upon-Avon 
aforesaid,  in  the  said  county  of  Warwick,  being  parcel  or  holden 
of  the  manor  of  Rowington,  unto  my  daughter  Susanna  Hall,  and 
her  heirs  for  ever. 

"Item:  I  give  and  bequeath  unto  my  said  daughter  Judith 
one  hundred  and  fifty  pounds  more,  if  she,  or  any  issue  of  her  body, 
be  living  at  the  end  of  three  years  next  ensuing  the  day  of  the  date 
of  this  my  Will,  during  which  time  my  executors  to  pay  her  con- 
sideration from  my  decease  according  to  the  rate  aforesaid :  and 
if  she  die  within  the  said  term  without  issue  of  her  body,  then  my 
Will  is,  and  I  do  give  and  bequeath  one  hundred  pounds  thereof 
to  my  niece  Elizabeth  Hall,  and  the  fifty  pounds  to  be  set  forth  by 
my  executors  during  the  life  of  my  sister  Joan  Hart,  and  the  use  and 
profit  thereof  coming,  shall  be  paid  to  my  said  sister  Joan,  and  after 
her  decease  the  said  fifty  pounds  shall  remain  amongst  the  children, 
of  my  said  sister,  equally  to  be  divided  amongst  them ;  but  if  my 
said  daughter  Judith  be  living  at  the  end  of  the  said  three  years, 
or  any  issue  of  her  body,  then  my  Will  is,  and  so  I  devise  and 
bequeath,  the  said  hundred  and  fifty  pounds  to  be  set  out  by  my 
executors  and  overseers  for  the  best  benefit  of  her  and  her  issue, 
and  the  stock  not  to  be  paid  unto  her  so  long  as  she  shall  be  married 
and  covert  baron ;  but  my  Will  is,  that  she  shall  have  the  considera- 
tion yearly  paid  unto  her  during  her  life,  and  after  her  decease  the 


ANCIENT,   CURIOUS,  AND  FAMOUS  WILLS     307 

said  stock  and  consideration  to  be  paid  to  her  children,  if  she  have 
any,  and  if  not,  to  her  executors  or  assigns,  she  Hving  the  said 
term  after  my  decease :  provided  that  if  such  husband  as  she 
shall  at  the  end  of  the  said  three  years  be  married  unto,  or  at  any 
(time)  after,  do  sufficiently  assure  unto  her,  and  the  issue  of  her 
body,  lands  answerable  to  the  portion  by  this  my  will  given  unto 
her,  and  to  be  adjudged  so  by  my  executors  and  overseers,  then 
my  Will  is,  that  the  said  hundred  and  fifty  pounds  shall  be 
paid  to  such  husband  as  shall  make  such  assurance,  to  his 
own  use. 

"  Item :  I  give  and  bequeath  unto  my  said  sister  Joan  twenty 
pounds,  and  all  my  wearing  apparel,  to  be  paid  and  delivered  within 
one  year  after  my  decease ;  and  I  do  Will  and  devise  unto  her  the 
house,  with  the  appurtenances,  in  Stratford,  wherein  she  dwelleth, 
for  her  natural  life,  under  the  yearly  rent  of  twelve-pence, 

"  Item  :  I  give  and  bequeath  unto  her  three  sons,  William  Hart, 

Hart,  and  Michael  Hart,  five  pounds  a-piece,  to  be  paid 

within  one  year  after  my  decease. 

"  Item :  I  give  and  bequeath  unto  the  said  Elizabeth  Hall  all 
my  plate  (except  my  broad  silver  and  gilt  bowl)  that  I  now  have 
at  the  date  of  this  my  Will, 

"Item:  I  give  and  bequeath  unto  the  poor  of  Stratford  afore- 
said ten  pounds ;  to  Mr,  Thomas  Combe  my  sword ;  to  Thomas 
Russel,  esq.,  five  pounds ;  and  to  Francis  Collins  of  the  borough  of 
Warwick,  in  the  county  of  Warwick,  gent,,  thirteen  pounds  six 
shillings  and  eight-pence,  to  be  paid  within  one  year  after  my 
decease, 

"Item:  I  give  and  bequeath  to  Hamlet  (Hamnet)  Sadler 
twenty-six  shillings  eight-pence,  to  buy  him  a  ring;  to  William 
Reynolds,  gent.,  twenty-six  shillings  eight-pence,  to  buy  him  a 
ring;  to  my  godson  William  Walker,  twenty  shillings  in  gold; 
to  Anthony  Nash,  gent.,  twenty-six  shillings  eight-pence;  and  to 
Mr,  John  Nash,  twenty-six  shillings  eight-pence;  and  to  my 
fellows,  John  Hemynge,  Richard  Burbage,  and  Henry  Cundell, 
twenty-six  shillings  eight-pence  a-piece,  to  buy  them  rings, 

"  Item :  I  give,  Will,  bequeath,  and  devise,  unto  my  daughter 
Susanna  Hall,  for  better  enabling  of  her  to  perform  this  my  Will, 
and  towards  the  performance  thereof,  all  that  capital  messuage  or 
tenement,  with  the  appurtenances,  in  Stratford  aforesaid,  called 
the  New  Place,  wherein  I  now  dwell,  and  two  messuages  or  tene- 
ments, with  the  appurtenances,  situate,  lying,  and  being  in  Henley 


308      ANCIENT,   CURIOUS,  AND  FAMOUS  WILLS 

Street,  within  the  borough  of  Stratford  aforesaid;  and  all  my 
barns,  stables,  orchards,  gardens,  lands,  tenements  and  heredita- 
ments whatsoever,  situate,  lying,  and  being,  or  to  be  had,  received 
perceived,  or  taken,  within  the  towns,  hamlets,  villages,  fields, 
and  grounds  of  Stratford-upon-Avon,  Old  Stratford,  Bishopton, 
and  Welcombe,  or  in  any  of  them,  in  the  said  county  of  Warwick ; 
and  also  all  that  messuage  or  tenement,  with  the  appurtenances, 
wherein  one  John  Robinson  dwelleth,  situate,  lying,  and  being,  in 
the  Blackfriars  in  London,  near  the  Wardrobe ;  and  all  other  my 
lands,  tenements,  and  hereditaments  whatsoever ;  to  have  and  to 
hold  all  and  singular  the  said  premises,  with  their  appurtenances, 
unto  the  said  Susanna  Hall,  for  and  during  the  term  of  her  natural 
life;  and  after  her  decease  to  the  first  son  of  her  body  lawfully 
issuing,  and  to  the  heirs  males  of  the  body  of  the  said  first  son  law- 
fully issuing;  and  for  default  of  such  issue,  to  the  second  son  of 
her  body  lawfully  issuing,  and  to  the  heirs  males  of  the  body  of  the 
said  second  son  lawfully  issuing ;  and  for  default  of  such  heirs,  to 
the  third  son  of  the  body  of  the  said  Susanna  lawfully  issuing,  and 
to  the  heirs  males  of  the  body  of  the  said  third  son  lawfully  issuing ; 
and  for  default  of  such  issue,  the  same  to  be  and  remain  to  the 
fourth,  fifth,  sixth,  and  seventh  sons  of  her  body,  lawfully  issuing 
one  after  another,  and  to  the  heirs  males  of  the  bodies  of  the  said 
fourth,  fifth,  sixth,  and  seventh  sons  lawfully  issuing,  in  such 
manner  as  it  is  before  limited  to  be  and  remain  to  the  first,  second, 
and  third  sons  of  her  body,  and  to  their  heirs  males :  and  for  de- 
fault of  such  issue,  the  said  premises  to  be  and  remain  to  my  said 
niece  Hall,  and  the  heirs  males  of  her  body  lawfully  issuing ;  and 
for  default  of  such  issue,  to  my  daughter  Judith,  and  the  heirs 
males  of  her  body  lawfully  issuing ;  and  for  default  of  such  issue, 
to  the  right  heirs  of  me  the  said  William  Shakespere  for  ever. 

"Item:  I  give  unto  my  wife  my  second  best  bed,  with  the 
furniture. 

"Item:  I  give  and  bequeath  to  my  said  daughter  Judith  my 
broad  silver  gilt  bowl.  All  the  rest  of  my  goods,  chattels,  leases, 
plate,  jewels,  and  household-stuff  whatsoever,  after  my  debts  and 
legacies  paid,  and  my  funeral  expenses  discharged,  I  give,  devise 
and  bequeath  to  my  son-in-law,  John  Hall,  gent.,  and  my  daughter 
Susanna  his  wife,  whom  I  ordain  and  make  executors  of  this  my 
last  Will  and  testament.  And  I  do  entreat  and  appoint  the  said 
Thomas  Russel,  esq.,  and  Francis  Collins,  gent.,  to  be  overseers 
hereof.     And  do  revoke  all  former  Wills,  and  publish  this  to  be  my 


ANCIENT,   CURIOUS,   AND   FAMOUS  WILLS     309 

last  Will  and  testament.     In  witness  whereof  I  have  hereunto  put 
my  hand,  the  day  and  year  first  above  written. 

"By  me, 
"  William  Shakespere. 
"Witness  to  the  publishing  hereof, 

Fra.  CoUyns, 

Julius  Shaw, 

John  Robinson, 

Hamnet  Sadler, 

Robert  Whattcoat." 

Will  of  M.  Silhouette 

M.  Silhouette  died  in  1767  in  Paris.  His  will  is  as  dry  as  the 
political  and  financial  details  of  a  period  of  history  insipid  in  itself 
could  make  it ;  but  the  history  of  the  man  who  wrote  it  is  singular 
and  suggestive,  and  shows  how  greatly  the  success  of  a  public  func- 
tionary depends  on  the  circumstances  in  which  he  is  placed,  and  far 
less  than  we  are  apt  to  suppose  on  his  genius  or  skill. 

Etienne  Silhouette,  Controleur-general  and  Minister  of  State, 
only  held  office  during  nine  months,  but  at  a  time  when  the 
Treasury  was  already  in  an  exhausted  state  in  consequence  of 
ruinous  wars  and  the  lavish  expenditure  of  his  predecessors.  He 
had  no  choice  but  to  replenish  the  coffers  of  the  State  by  the  impo- 
sition of  new  taxes,  as  economy  alone  would  not  have  sufficed, 
though  it  might  have  aided  to  fill  the  alarming  void.  So  far,  how- 
ever, from  commending  this  needful,  if  not  indispensable  measure, 
his  policy  was  turned  into  ridicule ;  and  the  people  whom  he  did 
his  best  to  serve  and  to  save,  heaped  upon  him  every  kind  of 
obloquy.  Among  other  insults  they  changed  the  name  of  a  street 
issuing  from  the  Place  des  Victoires,  which  had  been  styled  after 
him  La  Rue  Silhouette,  into  La  Rue  Vide  Gousset,  which  it  retains 
to  this  day ;  and  as  among  other  articles,  he  had  imposed  a  tax 
upon  likenesses  taken  in  black  paper,  cut  out,  and  pasted  on  a, 
white  card,  which  were  then  extremely  popular,  not  only  these 
portraits,  but  thence  all  black  outlines  received  the  name  of 
silhouettes,  which  has  adhered  to  them  ever  since. 

Will  of  Dean  Swift 

Dean  Swift  died  October  19,  1745.  The  "Last  Will  of 
Jonathan  Swift,  D.D.,  taken  out  of  the  Prerogative  Court  of 
Dublin "  in  book  form,  neatly  rebound  and  covering  twenty-seven 


310      ANCIENT,   CURIOUS,  AND  FAMOUS  WILLS 

pages  of  written  matter  can  yet  be  found  in  the  bookstores  of 
London.  The  instrument  is  dated  the  third  day  of  May,  1740, 
and  the  document  itself  was  printed  a  few  years  later.  In  turning 
its  pages,  a  feeling  of  awe  and  reverence  is  experienced  by  the 
reader  as  he  reviews  the  last  words  of  the  noted  Irish  clergyman, 
satirist  and  author  of  "Gulliver's  Travels."  Several  important 
items  of  the  Will  follow : 

"In  the  Name  of  God,  Amen.  I,  Jonathan  Swift,  Doctor  in 
Divinity,  and  Dean  of  the  Cathedral  Church  of  St.  Patrick,  Dub- 
lin, being  at  this  Present  of  sound  Mind,  although  weak  in  Body, 
do  here  make  my  last  Will  and  Testament,  hereby  revoking  all  my 
former  Wills. 

"Imprimis,  I  bequeath  my  Soul  to  God,  (in  humble  Hopes  of 
his  Mercy  through  Jesus  Christ)  and  my  Body  to  the  Earth. 
And  I  desire  that  my  Body  may  be  buried  in  the  great  Isle  of  the 
said  Cathedral,  on  the  South  Side,  under  the  Pillar  next  to  the 
Monument  of  Primate  Narcissus  Marsh,  three  Days  after  my 
Decease,  as  privately  as  possible,  and  at  Twelve  o'Clock  at  Night : 

And,  that  a  Black  Marble  of Feet  square,  and  seven  Feet  from 

the  Ground,  fixed  to  the  Wall,  may  be  erected,  with  the  following 
Inscription  in  large  Letters,  deeply  cut,  and  strongly  gilded." 

HIC    DEPOSITUM    EST    CORPUS 

JONATHAN  SWIFT,   S.  T.  P. 

HUJUS   ECCLESIiE    CATHEDRALI3 

DECANI, 

UBI   S^VA    INDIGNATIO 

ULTERroS    COR   LACERARE   NE- 

QUIT. 

ABI,    VIATOR, 

ET   IMITARE,    SI    POTERIS, 

STRENXrUM    PRO   VTRILI   LIBER- 

TATIS   VINDICEM. 

OBIIT   ANNO    [mDCCXLV.] 

MENSIS    [OCTOBRIS]    DIE    [19.] 

^TATIS   ANNO   [lXXVIU.] 

"  Item :  I  give  and  bequeath  to  my  Executors  all  my  worldly 
Substance,  of  what  Nature  or  Kind  soever  (excepting  such  Part 


ANCIENT,   CURIOUS,  AND  FAMOUS  WILLS      311 

thereof  as  is  herein  after  particularly  devised)  for  the  following 
Uses  and  Purposes,  that  is  to  say,  to  the  Intent  that  they,  or  the 
Survivors  or  Survivor  of  them,  his  Executors,  or  Administrators, 
as  soon  as  conveniently  may  be  after  my  Death,  shall  turn  it  all 
into  ready  Money,  and  lay  out  the  same  in  purchasing  Lands  of 
Inheritance  in  Fee  simple,  situate  in  any  Province  of  Ireland, 
except  Connaught,  but  as  near  to  the  City  of  Dubhn,  as  con- 
veniently can  be  found,  and  not  incumbered  with,  or  subject  to 
any  Leases  for  Lives  renewable,  or  any  Terms  for  Years  longer 
than  Thirty-one : " 

He  provides  that  a  considerable  sum  be  laid  out  in  the  pur- 
chase of  lands  near  Dubhn  and  a  building  be  erected  thereon 
"An  Hospital  for  the  Reception  of  as  many  Idiots  and  Lunaticks 
as  the  annual  income  of  the  said  lands  and  worldly  Substance 
shall  be  sufficient  to  maintain :  And,  I  desire  said  Hospital  may 
be  called  St.  Patrick's  Hospital." 

He  then  goes  into  great  detail  as  to  the  management  of  the 
Hospital. 

"  Item :  Whereas  I  purchased  the  Inheritance  of  the  Tythes  of 
the  Parish  of  Essernock  near  Trim  in  the  County  of  Meath,  for 
Two  Hundred  and  Sixty  Pounds  Sterhng,  I  bequeath  the  said 
Tythes  to  the  Vicars  of  Laracor  for  the  Time  being,  that  is  to  say, 
so  long  as  the  present  Episcopal  Religion  shall  continue  to  be 
the  National  Established  Faith  and  Profession  in  this  Kingdom : 
But  whenever  any  other  Form  of  Christian  Religion  shall  become 
the  Established  Faith  in  this  Kingdom,  I  leave  the  said  Tythes 
of  Essernock  to  be  bestowed,  as  the  Profits  come  in,  to  the  Poor 
of  the  said  Parish  of  Laracor,  by  a  weekly  Proportion,  and  by 
such  Officers  as  may  then  have  the  Power  of  distributing  Charities 
to  the  Poor  of  the  said  Parish,  while  Christianity  under  any  Shape 
shall  be  tolerated  among  us,  still  excepting  professed  Jews,  Atheists, 
and  Infidels. 

"  Item :  I  bequeath  also  to  the  said  Martha,  the  Sum  of  Three 
Hundred  Pounds  Sterling,  to  be  paid  her  by  my  Executors  out 
of  my  ready  Money,  or  Bank  Bills,  immediately  after  my  Death, 
as  soon  as  the  Executors  meet.  I  leave,  moreover,  to  the  said 
Martha,  my  repeating  Gold  Watch,  my  yellow  Tortoise  Shell 
Snuff  Box,  and  her  Choice  of  four  Gold  Rings,  out  of  seven  which 
I  now  possess. 

"  Item  :  I  bequeath  to  Mrs.  Mary  Swift  alias  Harrison,  Daugh- 
ter of  the  said  Martha,  my  plain  Gold  Watch  made  by  Quare ;  to 


312      ANCIENT,   CURIOUS,  AND   FAMOUS  WILLS 

whom  also  I  give  my  Japan  Writing  Desk,  bestowed  to  me  by- 
Lady  Worseley,  my  square  Tortoise  Shell  Snuff  Box,  richly  lined 
and  inlaid  with  Gold,  given  to  me  by  the  Right  Honourable  Hen- 
rietta now  Countess  of  Oxford,  and  the  Seal  with  a  Pegasus, 
given  to  me  by  the  Countess  of  Granville. 

"  Item  :  I  bequeath  to  Mr.  Ffolliott  Whiteway,  eldest  Son  of  the 
aforesaid  Martha,  who  is  bred  to  be  an  Attorney,  the  Sum  of 
Sixty  Pounds ;  as  also  Five  Pounds  to  be  laid  out  in  the  Purchase 
of  such  Law  Books  as  the  Honourable  Mr.  Justice  Lyndsay,  Mr. 
Stannard,  or  Mr.  McAullay  shall  judge  proper  for  him. 

"  Item :  I  bequeath  to  my  dearest  Friend  Alexander  Pope  of 
Twittenham,  Esq.,  my  Picture  in  Miniature,  drawn  by  Zinck, 
of  Robert  late  Earl  of  Oxford. 

"  Item :  I  leave  to  Edward  now  Earl  of  Oxford,  my  Seal  of  Julius 
Caesar,  as  also  another  Seal,  supposed  to  be  a  young  Hercules, 
both  very  choice  Antiques,  and  set  in  Gold :  Both  which  I  chuse 
to  bestow  to  the  said  Earl,  because  they  belonged  to  her  late 
Most  Excellent  Majesty  Queen  Anne,  of  ever  Glorious,  Immortal, 
and  truly  Pious  Memory,  the  real  nursing  Mother  of  all  her 
Kingdoms. 

"  Item :  I  leave  to  the  Reverend  Mr.  James  Stopford,  Vicar  of 
Finglass,  my  Picture  of  King  Charles,  the  First,  drawn  by  Van- 
dyke, which  was  given  to  me  by  the  said  James ;  as  also  my  large 
Picture  of  Birds,  which  was  given  to  me  by  Thomas,  Earl  of  Pem- 
broke. 

"  Item  :  I  bequeath  to  the  Reverend  Mr.  Robert  Grattan,  Pre- 
bendary of  St.  Audeon's,  my  Gold  Bottle  Screw,  which  he  gave 
me,  and  my  strong  Box,  on  Condition  of  his  giving  the  sole  Use 
of  the  said  Box  to  his  Brother  Dr.  James  Grattan,  during  the 
Life  of  the  said  Doctor,  who  hath  more  Occasion  for  it,  and  the 
second  best  Beaver  Hat  I  shall  die  possessed  of. 

"  Item  :  I  bequeath  to  Mr.  John  Grattan,  Prebendary  of  Clon- 
methan,  my  Silver  Box  in  which  the  Freedom  of  the  City  of  Cork 
was  presented  to  me ;  in  which  I  desire  the  said  John  to  keep  the 
Tobacco  he  usually  cheweth,  called  Pigtail. 

"  Item :  I  bequeath  all  my  Horses  and  Mares  to  the  Reverend 
Mr.  John  Jackson,  Vicar  of  Santry,  together  with  all  my  Horse 
Furniture:  Lamenting  that  I  had  not  Credit  enough  with  any 
chief  Governor  (since  the  Change  of  Times)  to  get  some  addi- 
tional Church  Preferment  for  so  virtuous  and  worthy  a  Gentle- 
man.    I  also  leave  him  my  third  best  Beaver  Hat. 


ANCIENT,   CURIOUS,  AND  FAMOUS  WILLS      313 

"  Item  :  I  bequeath  to  the  Reverend  Doctor  Francis  Wilson,  the 
Works  of  Plato  in  three  Folio  Volumes,  the  Earl  of  Clarendon's 
History  in  the  three  Folio  Volumes,  and  my  best  Bible ;  together 
with  thirteen  small  Persian  Pictures  in  the  Drawing  Room,  and 
the  small  Silver  Tankard  given  to  me  by  the  Contribution  of 
some  Friends,  whose  Names  are  engraved  at  the  Bottom  of  the 
said  Tankard. 

"  Item :  I  bequeath  to  the  Earl  of  Orrery  the  enamelled  Silver 
Plates  to  distinguish  Bottles  of  Wine  by,  given  to  me  by  his  ex- 
cellent Lady,  and  the  Half-length  Picture  of  the  late  Countess  of 
Orkney  in  the  Drawing  Room. 

"  Item  :  I  bequeath  to  Alexander  McAullay,  Esq.,  the  Gold  Box 
in  which  the  Freedom  of  the  City  of  Dublin  was  presented  to  me, 
as  a  Testimony  of  the  Esteem  and  Love  I  have  for  him,  on  Account 
of  his  great  Learning,  fine  natural  Parts,  unaffected  Piety  and 
Benevolence,  and  his  truly  honourable  Zeal  in  Defence  of  the  legal 
Rights  of  the  Clergy,  in  Opposition  to  all  their  unprovoked 
Oppressors. 

"  Item  :  I  bequeath  to  Deane  Swift,  Esq.,  my  large  Silver  Stand- 
ish,  consisting  of  a  large  Silver  Plate,  an  Ink  Pot,  a  Sand  Box  and 
a  Bell  of  the  same  Metal. 

"  Item :  I  bequeath  to  Mrs.  Mary  Barber  the  Medal  of  Queen 
Anne  and  Prince  George,  which  she  formerly  gave  me. 

"  Item :  I  leave  to  the  Reverend  Mr.  John  Worrall  my  best 
Beaver  Hat. 

"  Item  :  I  bequeath  to  the  Reverend  Doctor  Patrick  Delany  my 
Medal  of  Queen  Anne  in  Silver,  and  on  the  Reverse  the  Bishops 
of  England  kneeling  before  her  Most  Sacred  Majesty. 

"  Item  :  I  bequeath  to  the  Reverend  Mr.  James  King,  Prebendary 
of  Tipper,  my  large  gilded  Medal  of  King  Charles  the  First,  and 
on  the  Reverse  a  Crown  of  Martyrdom,  with  other  Devices.  My 
Will,  nevertheless,  is,  that  if  any  of  the  above  named  Legatees 
should  die  before  me,  that  then,  and  in  that  Case,  the  respective 
Legacies  to  them  bequeathed,  shall  revert  to  myself,  and  become 
again  subject  to  my  Disposal. 

"  In  witness  whereof,  I  have  hereunto  set  my  Hand  and  Seal, 
and  published  and  declared  this  as  my  last  Will  and  Testament, 
this  Third  Day  of  May,  1740. 

"Jonathan  Swift." 


314      ANCIENT,   CURIOUS,  AND  FAMOUS  WILLS 

Will  of  J.  M.  W.  Turner,  R.A. 

The  great  painter,  J.  M.  W.  Turner,  R.A.,  died  in  1851.  It  is 
unnecessary  to  quote  this  lengthy  and  well-known  document ;  in- 
deed, we  might  speak  of  the  unfortunate  will  and  its  numerous 
codicils  in  the  plural. 

It  was  dated  June  10,  1831,  and  was  attested  by  George  Cobb, 
John  Saxon,  and  Charles  Tall.  It  is  written  in  various  legal 
hands,  all  except  the  first  codicil,  the  whole  of  which  is  in  auto- 
graph. 

After  legacies  to  private  friends  and  servants,  and  to  various 
charities,  and  the  bequests  of  his  valuable  works  to  the  nation, 
under  very  special  and  stringent  conditions,  this  eccentric,  wealthy, 
and  benevolent  artist  ordered  that  the  residue  of  his  estate  should 
be  devoted  to  the  founding  and  maintaining  of  an  "institution 
for  the  support  of  poor  and  decayed  male  artists,  born  in  Eng- 
land and  of  English  parents  only,  and  lawful  issue." 

"Unfortunately  for  the  poor  artists  of  England,"  says  Turner's 
biographer,  "the  will  being  a  most  cloudy  document,  full  of  con- 
fusions and  interpolations,  it  was  disputed  by  the  next  of  kin, 
who  endeavoured  to  establish  that  the  testator  was  of  unsound 
mind.  But  this  effort  to  annihilate  its  validity  failed,  the  testator 
being  held  to  be  of  sound  mind  and  capable  of  making  a  legal 
disposition  of  his  estate. 

"The  trustees  and  executors  thereupon  filed  a  bill  in  Chancery 
on  the  25th  of  April,  1852,  praying  the  court  to  construe  the 
will,  and  enable  them  to  administer  the  estate.  The  next  of 
kin,  by  their  answer,  contended  that  since  it  was  impossible 
to  place  any  construction  upon  the  will  at  all,  it  was  necessarily 
void." 

The  testator's  property,  we  may  remark,  was  sworn  under 
£140,000. 

The  documents  in  this  Chancery  suit,  which  extended  to  four 
years,  are  of  several  tons  weight.  The  bills  of  costs  alone  would 
fill  a  butcher's  cart.  How  Turner  would  have  groaned  to  see  the 
lawyers  fattening  on  his  hard-earned  savings  ! 

A  compromise  was  eventually  effected  between  all  parties  to 
the  suit,  and  on  March  19,  1856,  a  decree  was  pronounced,  with 
their  consent,  to  the  following  effect : 

1.  The  real  estate  to  go  to  the  heir-at-law. 

2.  The  pictures,  etc.,  to  the  National  Gallery. 


ANCIENT,   CURIOUS,   AND  FAMOUS  WILLS      315 

3.  £1000  for  the  erection  of  the  monument  in  St.  Paul's  Ca- 
thedral. 

4.  £20,000  to  the  Royal  Academy,  free  of  legacy  duty. 

5.  Remainder  to  be  divided  among  next  of  kin. 

Will  of  Vaugelas 

Claude  Favre  de  Vaugelas  the  French  Grammarian,  one  of  the 
lights  of  the  "Salon  Bleu,"  and  honored  by  the  friendship  of 
Madame  de  Rambouillet,  was  born  at  Bourg  en  Bresse  in  1585, 
and  after  making  an  illustrious  name  in  the  annals  of  literature, 
and  being  rewarded  by  several  pensions,  died  in  a  condition  of 
abject  poverty  in  Paris,  in  1650.  It  is  difficult  to  account  for  the 
sad  circumstances  under  which  he  ended  his  days,  unless,  like 
many  of  the  literary  characters  found  in  history,  he  led  a  hfe 
of  reckless  expenditure,  possibly  good-naturedly  lending  to  those 
who  never  repaid  him,  and  generally  neglected  to  keep  any  kind 
of  order  in  his  affairs. 

Freron,  in  his  "Annee  Litteraire,"  reports  a  singular  clause  in 
his  will,  but  one  which  does  honor  to  his  sense  of  rectitude  and 
his  conscientiousness. 

"Vaugelas,"  says  he,  "died,  so  to  speak,  in  penury;  he  was 
so  deeply  in  debt  that  he  was  obliged  to  remain  all  day  at  home 
(a  single  room),  and  could  only  go  out  at  night  for  fear  he  should 
fall  into  the  hands  of  his  creditors.  On  this  account  he  was 
named  the  'Hibou.'  His  will  was  remarkable:  after  having 
ordered  his  little  all  to  be  sold  for  the  payment  of  his  debts,  he 
adds,  'But  as,  after  all  has  been  distributed,  there  may  remain 
some  creditors  whose  claims  will  not  be  satisfied,  my  last  will  is 
that  my  body  be  sold  to  the  surgeons  for  the  highest  price  that 
can  be  obtained,  and  the  product  applied  to  the  liquidation  of  the 
debts  I  may  still  owe,  so  that,  if  I  have  been  unable  to  be  of  any 
use  during  my  life,  I  may  at  least  serve  some  purpose  after  my 
death.'" 

Will  of  Voltaire 

Among  Voltaire's  papers  was  found  a  note,  endorsed  "Mon 
Testament,"  which,  on  being  opened,  exhibited  these  lines  in  his 
own  hand : 

"  Je  meurs  en  adorant  Dieu, 
En  aimant  mes  amis, 
En  ne  haissant  point  mes  ennemis. 
En  detestant  la  superstition." 


316      ANCIENT,   CURIOUS,  AND  FAMOUS  WILLS 

Voltaire  spent  his  last  days  in  Paris,  dying  there  in  1778.  It 
was  there  Benjamin  Franklin  took  to  him  his  grandson  on  whom 
he  asked  Voltaire  to  pronounce  a  blessing.  Voltaire  placed  his 
hand  upon  the  young  man's  head,  uttering  at  the  same  time  in 
Enghsh,  "God  and  hberty." 


Will  of  Izaak  Walton 

"  Simon  Peter  saith  unto  them,  I  go  a  fishing. 
They  say  unto  him,  we  also  go  with  thee." 

Izaak  Walton  died  December  15,  1683,  at  the  age  of  ninety, 
and  was  buried  in  the  north  transept  of  Winchester  Cathedral. 
He  is  best  known  and  loved  by  his  work,  "The  Compleat  Angler, 
or  Contemplative  Man's  Recreation ; "  for  quaintness  and  pastoral 
freshness  it  has  never  been  excelled  and  has  passed  through  more 
than  a  hundred  editions.  Of  the  book  Charles  Lamb  said:  "It 
would  sweeten  a  man's  temper  at  any  time  to  read  it."  The 
following  verses  in  praise  of  tobacco,  are  taken  from  a  poem  of 
considerable  length,  Gosden's  edition  of  the  "Journey  to  Beres- 
ford  Hall." 

"Me  thinks  I  see  Charles  Cotton,  and  his  friend. 
The  modest  Walton,  from  Augusta's  town. 
Enter  the  Fishing-house  an  hour  to  spend, 
And  by  the  marble  table  set  them  down. 

*'  'Boy,  bring  me  in  the  jug  of  Derby  Ale, 
My  best  tobacco,  and  my  smoking  tray ; ' 
The  boy,  obedient,  brings  the  rich  regale, 
And  each  assumes  his  pipe  of  polished  clay. 

"  Now  cloud  on  cloud  pervades  the  fishers'  room, 
The  Moreland  Ale  rich  sparkles  to  the  sight ; 
They  draw  fresh  wisdom  from  the  circling  gloom, 
And  deal  a  converse  pregnant  with  delight. 

"  Me  thinks  I  see  them  with  the  mental  eye, 
I  hear  their  lessons  with  attentive  ear. 
Of  early  fishing  with  the  summer  fly. 
And  many  a  pleasing  tale  to  Anglers  dear." 

The  Fishing-house  of  Charles  Cotton,  where  Walton  visited 
and  where  Piscator  and  Viator  communed,  stood  "in  a  kind  of 


ANCIENT,   CURIOUS,   AND  FAMOUS  WILLS      317 

peninsula,"  as  Cotton  describes  it,  "wdth  a  delicate  clear  river 
about  it;"  this  "little  house"  was  on  the  river  Dove  in  Stafford- 
shire: over  the  arched  door  were  the  words  "  Piscatoribus  Sa- 
crum" and  on  the  Key-stone  the  Cypher  of  Cotton  and  Walton. 
In  1835  this  venerable  and  historic  building  was  restored  to 
nearly  the  same  state  as  when  originally  built,  by  its  owner,  the 
Marquis  of  Beresford. 

The  will  of  Walton  is  deposited  in  the  great  registry  of  Eng- 
lish wills  at  Somerset  House,  London,  and  may  there  be  seen  by 
the  visitor.  An  exact  copy  recently  taken  from  the  original  is 
here  given,  word  for  word : 

"In  the  name  of  God,  Amen  :  I,  Izaak  Walton,  the  elder,  of  Win- 
chester, being  the  present  day  in  the  ninetyeth  yeare  of  my  age 
and  in  perfect  memory,  for  which  praysed  be  God,  but  consider- 
ing how  suddainly  I  may  be  deprived  of  both,  doe  therefore  make 
this  my  last  will  and  testament  as  foUoweth;  and  first,  I  doe 
declare  my  beleife  to  be  that  their  is  only  one  God  who  hath  made 
the  whole  world  and  mee  and  all  mankind,  to  whome  I  shall  give 
an  account  of  all  my  actions  which  are  not  to  be  justified  but  I 
hope  pardoned  for  all  the  merrets  of  my  saviour  Jesus,  and  because 
the  profession  of  Christianity  does  at  this  time  seeme  to  be  sub- 
divided into  papist  and  protestant  I  take  it  at  least  to  be  con- 
venient to  declare  my  beleife  to  be  in  all  points  of  ffaith  as  the 
Church  of  England  now  professeth  and  this  I  doe,  the  rather 
because  of  a  very  long  and  a  very  true  friendship  with  some  of 
the  Roman  Church  and  for  my  worldly  estate  (which  I  have 
neither  got  by  falsehood  or  flattery  or  the  extreame  Cruelty  of 
the  law  of  this  nation)  I  doe  hereby  give  and  bequeath  it  as  fol- 
loweth  :  first  I  give  my  sonne  in  law  Doc*  Hawkins  and  to  his  wife 
to  them  I  give  all  my  title  and  right  of  or  in  a  part  of  a  house  and 
shop  in  Pater  noster  rowe  in  London  which  I  hold  by  lease  from 
the  Lord  Bishop  of  London  for  about  fiifty  years  to  come,  and  I 
doe  alsoe  give  to  them  all  my  right  and  title  of  or  to  a  house  in 
Chansery  Lane  London  wherein  M'  Greinwood  now  dwelleth  in 
which  is  now  about  sixteene  yeares  to  come  I  give  these  two 
leases  to  them  they  saving  my  Executor  from  all  damage  con- 
cerning the  same ;  and  I  give  to  my  sonne  Izaak  all  my  right  and 
title  to  a  lease  of  Norington  Farme  which  I  hold  from  the  Lord 
Bishop  of  Winton  and  I  doe  also  give  him  all  my  right  and  title 
to  a  Farme  or  land  neare  to  Stafford  which  I  bought  of  Mr.  Walter 
Noell ;  I  say  I  give  it  to  him  and  his  heires  for  ever  but  upon  the 


318      ANCIENT,   CURIOUS,   AND  FAMOUS  WILLS 

condicon  following  namely;  if  my  sonne  shall  not  marry  before 
lie  shall  be  of  the  age  of  forty  and  one  yeare,  or  being  married 
shall  dye  before  the  said  age  and  leave  noe  sonne  to  inlierit  the 
said  Farme  or  Land,  or  if  his  sonne  or  sonns  shall  not  live  ta 
obtaine  the  age  of  twenty  and  one  yeares,  to  dispose  otherwayes 
of  it  then  I  give  the  said  Farme  or  land  to  the  Towne  or  Corpora- 
tion of  Stafford  (in  which  I  was  borne)  for  the  good  and  benefit 
of  some  of  the  said  towne  as  I  shall  direct  and  as  foUoweth,  but 
first  note  that  it  is  at  this  present  time  rented  for  twenty  one 
pounds  tenn  shillings  a  yeare  (and  is  like  to  hold  the  said  rent  if 
care  be  taken  to  keepe  the  barne  and  houseing  in  repaire)  and  I 
wood  have  and  doe  give  ten  pound  of  the  said  rent  to  bind  out 
yearly  two  boyes,  the  sonns  of  honest  and  poore  parents,  to  be 
aprentizes  to  some  Tradesmen  or  handycraft  men  to  the  intent 
the  said  boyes  may  the  better  afterward  get  their  owne  liveing; 
and  I  doe  alsoe  give  five  pound  yearly  out  of  the  said  rent  to  be 
given  to  some  maide  Servant  that  hath  attained  the  age  of  twenty 
and  one  yeare  (not  lesse)  and  dwelt  long  in  one  service  or  to  some 
honest  poore  mans  daughter  that  hath  attained  to  that  age,  to 
be  paid  her  at  or  on  the  day  of  her  marriage  and  this  being  done 
my  will  is  that  what  rent  shall  remaine  of  the  said  Farme  or  land 
shall  be  disposed  of  as  Followeth :  first  I  doe  give  twenty  shillings 
yearly  to  be  spent  by  the  Mayor  of  Stafford  and  those  that  shall 
collect  the  said  rent  and  dispose  of  it  as  I  have  and  shall  here- 
after direct,  and  that  what  mony  or  rent  shall  remaine  undisposed 
off  shall  be  imployed  to  buy  Coales  for  some  poore  people  that 
shall  most  need  them  in  the  said  towne,  the  said  Coales  to  be 
delivered  the  first  weeke  in  January  or  in  every  first  weeke  in 
February ;  I  say  then  because  I  take  that  time  to  be  the  hardest 
and  most  pinching  times  with  poore  people  and  God  reward  those 
that  shall  doe  this  without  partialitie  and  with  honestie  and  a 
good  conscience ;  and  if  the  said  Mayor  and  others  of  the  said 
towne  of  Stafford  shall  prove  so  negligent  or  dishonest  as  not  to 
imploy  the  rent  by  mee  given  as  intended  and  exprest  in  this  my 
will  (which  God  forbid)  then  I  give  the  said  rents  and  profitts  of 
the  said  Farme  or  land  to  the  Towne  and  cheife  magastraits  or 
governers  of  Ecles-hall  to  be  disposed  by  them  in  such  manner 
as  I  have  ordered  the  disposall  of  it  by  the  towne  of  Stafford,  the 
said  Farme  or  land  being  near  the  Towne  of  Ecles-hall ;  and  I 
give  to  my  sonne  in  Law  Doctor  Hawkins  (whome  I  love  as  my 
owne  sonn)  and  to  my  daughter,  his  wife,  and  my  sonne  Izaak 


ANCIENT,   CURIOUS,  AND  FAMOUS  WILLS      319 

to  each  of  them  a  ring  with  these  words  or  motto  —  "love  my 
memory  I :  W.  obiet ; "  to  the  Lord  Bishop  of  Winton  a  ring  with 
this  motto  "a  mitt  for  a  miUion  I:  W.  obiet;"  and  to  the 
friends  hereafter  named  I  give  to  each  of  them  a  ring  with  this 
motto  "A  friend's  farewell  I:  W.  obiet;"  and  my  will  is  the  said 
rings  be  delivered  within  forty  dayes  after  my  death,  and  that 
the  price  or  value  of  all  the  said  rings  shall  be  thirteen  shillings 
and  four  pence  a  peece.  I  give  to  Doctor  Hawkins  Doctor  Donn's 
Sermons,  which  I  have  heard  preacht  and  read  with  much  con- 
tent; to  my  sonn  Izaak  I  give  Doctor  Sibbs  his  Soules  conflict, 
and  to  my  daughter  his  brused  reed  desireing  them  to  read  them 
for  as  to  be  well  acquainted  with  them ;  and  I  alsoe  give  unto 
her  all  my  bookes  at  Winchester  and  Droxford  and  whatever  in 
those  two  places  are  or  I  can  call  mine  except  a  Trunck  of  Linnen 
which  I  give  to  my  sonne  Izaak ;  but  if  he  doe  not  live  to  Marry 
or  make  use  of  it  then  I  give  the  same  to  my  Granddaughter, 
Anne  Hawkins,  and  I  give  my  daughter  Doctor  Halls  works  which 
be  now  at  Farnham :  to  my  sonn  Izaak  I  give  all  ray  bookes 
(not  yet  given)  at  Farnham  Castell  and  a  deske  of  prints  and 
pictures,  alsoe  a  Cabinet  nere  my  bedshead  in  which  are  some 
little  things  that  he  will  value,  tho  of  noe  great  worth,  and  my 
will  and  desire  is  that  he  will  be  kind  to  his  Aunt  Beachame  and 
his  Aunt  Rose  Ken  by  allowing  the  first  about  fifty  shillings  a 
yeare  in  or  for  Bacon  and  Cheese  (not  more)  and  paying  four 
pound  a  yeare  toward  the  boarding  of  her  sonnes  dyet  to  MT 
John  Whiitehead;  for  his  Aunt  Ken  I  desire  him  to  be  kind  to 
her  according  to  her  necessity  and  his  own  abilitie  and  I  com- 
mend one  of  her  children  to  breed  up  (as  I  have  said  I  intend  to 
do)  if  he  shall  be  able  to  doe  it,  as  I  know  he  will,  for  they  be 
good  folke.  I  give  —  to  M^  John  Darbishire  the  Sermons  of  M^ 
Anthony  Faringdon  or  of  Do^ :  Sunderson,  which  my  Executor 
thinks  fitt :  to  my  servant,  Thomas  Edghill,  I  give  five  pound 
in  mony  and  all  my  Clothes  linnen  and  wollen  (except  one  sute  of 
Clothes  which  I  give  to  M^  Holinshed  and  forty  shillings)  if  the 
said  Thomas  be  my  servant  at  my  death,  if  not  my  Clothes  only ; 
and  I  give  my  old  friend,  M^  Richard  Marriot,  tenn  pound,  in 
mony  to  be  paid  him  within  three  Months  after  my  death,  and  I 
desire  my  sonne  to  shew  kindness  to  him  if  he  shall  neede  and 
my  son  can  spare  it ;  and  I  doe  hereby  will  and  declare  my  sonn 
Izaak  to  be  my  sole  Executor  of  of  this  my  last  will  and  testament 
and  doctor  Hawkins  to  see  that  he  performes  it,  which  I  doubt 


320      ANCIENT,   CURIOUS,  AND  FAMOUS  WILLS 

not  but  he  will.  I  desire  my  burial  may  be  neare  the  place  of  my 
death  and  free  from  any  ostentation  or  charge  but  privately : 
this  I  make  to  be  my  last  will  (to  which  I  shall  only  add  the  Cod- 
icell  for  rings)  this  sixteenth  day  of  August,  One  Thousand  Six 
hundred  eighty  three.     Izaak  Walton.    Witnesse  to  this  will 

"The  Rings  I  give  are  as  on  the  other  side. 

"  To  my  brother,  Jon  Ken ;  to  my  sister,  his  wife ;  to  my  brother. 
Doctor  Ken ;  to  my  Sister  Pye ;  to  M-  Francis  Morley ;  to  M- 
George  Vernon ;  to  his  wife ;  to  his  three  daughter ;  to  Mristris 
Nelson;  to  IVF  Richard  Walton;  to  M-  Palmer;  to  W_  Taylor; 
to  M'  Tho  Garrard ;  to  the  Lord  Bp  of  Sarum ;  to  W  Rede,  his 
servant;  to  my  cozen  Dorothy  Kenrick;  to  my  Cozen  Lewin; 
to  M'  Walter  Higgs ;  to  M'  Charles  Cotton ;  to  IVI^  Rich :  Marryot 
22 ;  to  my  brother  Beacham  ;  to  my  Sister,  his  wife ;  to  the  Lady 
Anne  How;  to  M"  King  Doctor  Philips  wife:  to  M^  Valentine 
Harecourt ;  to  M"'  Eliza :  Johnson ;  to  M"  Mary  Rogers ;  to  M"-' 
Eliza:  Milward;  to  M'"  Dorothy  Wallop;  to  M^  Will  Milward 
of  Christ  church,  Oxford ;  to  M-  John  Darbesheire ;  to  M"?  Une- 
dvill ;  to  M'?  Rock ;  to  M'  Peter  White ;  to  MT  John  Lloyde ;  to 
my  Cozen  Greinsells  widdow,  M'-^  Dalbin,  must  not  be  forgotten 
16 ;  Izaak  Walton  note  that  severall  lines  are  blotted  out  of  this 
will  for  they  were  twice  repeated  and  that  this  will  is  now  Signed 
and  Sealed  this  twenty  and  fourth  day  of  October,  One  thousand 
Six  hundred  eighty  three,  in  the  presence  of  us  Witnesse  Abra: 
Markland,  Jos :  Taylor,  Thomas  Crawley.  " 

Will  of  Duke  of  Wellington 

Arthur  Wellesley,  first  Duke  of  Wellington,  died  September 
14,  1852 :  he  was  probably  born  in  Dublin,  though  both  the 
place  and  date  of  birth  are  uncertain.  He  is  buried  in  St.  Paul's 
Cathedral,  London. 

His  will,  taken  from  the  original  on  file  at  Somerset  House, 
London,  is  as  follows  : 

"An  attempt  having  been  made  to  assassinate  me  on  the  night 
of  the  10th  instant,  which  may  be  repeated  with  success,  and 
being  desirous  of  settling  my  worldly  affairs  and  there  being  no 
professional  person  at  Paris  to  whom  I  can  entrust  the  task  of 
drawing  my  Will,  I  now  draw  it  in  my  own  hand  writing,  hereby 
revoking  all  former  Wills  particularly  one  likewise  in  my  own 
hand  writing  made  in  the  year  1807  previous  to  the  Expedition 
to  Copenhagen. 


ANCIENT,   CURIOUS,  AND  FAMOUS  WILLS      321 

"I  hereby  leave  to  the  trustees  appointed  by  Act  of  Par*  to 
carry  into  execution  the  objects  of  the  various  Grants  to  me,  my 
house  in  Piccadilly  London  with  its  furniture  and  all  I  possess  in 
money  and  other  valuables  in  the  funds  in  Exchequer  Bills  and 
elsewhere  according  to  the  schedule  annexed  in  trust  for  the  fol- 
lowing purposes : 

"  First :  To  carry  into  execution  my  Marriage  Settlement  with 
the  Duchess  of  Wellington, 

"  Secondly :  To  pay  to  all  my  servants  one  year's  wages  beyond 
what  may  be  due  to  each  on  the  day  of  my  death. 

"  Thirdly:  To  pay  all  my  just  debts. 

"Fourthly :  To  pay  to  my  second  son.  Lord  Charles  Wellesley, 
the  sum  of  one  thousand  pounds  per  annum  for  his  life,  besides 
what  he  will  be  entitled  to  under  my  Marriage  Settlement  and 
by  the  operation  of  the  Acts  conveying  the  Parliamentary  Grants 
to  my  family.  In  case  he  should  marry  or  when  he  will  be  thirty 
years  of  age,  he  is  to  have  the  option  of  continuing  to  receive  this 
annuity  or  the  sum  of  twenty  thousand  pounds  sterling  which  is 
to  be  paid  to  him  out  of  the  funds  aforesaid. 

"Fifthly:  To  purchase  a  freehold  estate  in  England  with  the 
whole  money  aforesaid  or  such  part  thereof  as  they  the  said 
trustees  may  think  proper,  charging  it  with  the  provisions 
above  specified  for  the  Duchess  of  Wellington  and  Lord  Charles 
Wellesley. 

"Sixthly:  To  give  to  my  eldest  son  Arthur,  Marquis  of  Douro, 
and  the  heirs  male  of  his  body  the  use  of  the  House  in  Picca- 
dilly, of  the  furniture  thereto  belonging,  and  to  pay  him  and  the 
heirs  male  of  his  body  the  annual  interest  which  may  be  received 
for  such  money  in  the  funds  in  Exchequer  Bills  or  wherever  it 
may  be  and  the  rent  arising  from  any  estate  which  the  trustees 
may  think  proper  to  purchase  with  the  said  money.  In  case  of 
the  death  without  heirs  male  of  my  eldest  son  Arthur,  Marquis  of 
Douro, 

"Seventhly:  I  give  to  my  second,  The  Lord  Charles  Wellesley, 
and  the  heirs  male  of  his  body  the  use  of  the  said  house  in  Picca- 
dilly and  of  the  furniture  thereunto  belonging,  and  to  pay  him 
The  Lord  Charles  Wellesley  and  the  heirs  male  of  his  body  the 
annual  interest  which  may  be  received  for  such  money  in  the 
funds  in  Exchequer  Bills  or  wherever  it  may  be  and  the  rent  aris- 
ing from  any  estate  which  the  trustees  may  think  proper  to  pur- 
chase with  the  said  money.     In  case  of  the  death  without  heirs 


322      ANCIENT,   CURIOUS,  AND  FAMOUS  WILLS 

male  of  my  sons,  Arthur,  Marquis  of  Douro  and  Lord  Charles 
Wellesley, 

"  Eighthly:  To  give  my  nephew,  Arthur  Wellesley,  the  eldest  son 
of  my  brother  The  Hble.  and  Revd.  Gerald  Wellesley,  by  Lady 
Emily  his  wife,  and  the  heirs  male  of  his  body,  the  use  of  my 
house  in  Piccadilly  and  the  furniture  thereunto  belonging,  and  to 
pay  him  the  said  Arthur  Wellesley  and  the  heirs  male  of  his  body 
the  annual  interest  which  may  be  received  for  such  money  in  the 
funds  in  Exchequer  Bills  or  wherever  it  may  be  and  the  rent  aris- 
ing from  any  estate  which  may  be  purchased  by  the  trustees  with 
the  said  money.  In  case  of  the  death  of  both  my  sons  Arthur, 
Marquis  of  Douro,  and  Lord  Charles  Wellesley  and  of  my  nephew, 
Arthur  Wellesley,  aforesaid  all  without  heirs  male, 

^'Ninthly:  To  give  to  my  nephew,  Gerald  Wellesley,  the  third 
son  of  my  brother.  The  Honble.  Henry  Wellesley,  by  Lady  Char- 
lotte his  wife,  and  the  heirs  male  of  his  body,  the  use  of  my  house 
in  Piccadilly  and  the  furniture  thereunto  belonging,  and  to  pay 
him  the  said  Gerald  Wellesley  and  the  heirs  male  of  his  body  the 
annual  interest  which  may  be  received  for  such  money  in  the 
funds  in  Exchequer  Bills  or  wherever  it  may  be  and  the  rent 
arising  from  any  estate  which  may  be  purchased  by  the  trustees 
with  the  said  money.  In  case  of  the  death  without  heirs  male  of 
both  my  sons  and  both  my  nephews  aforesaid  Arthur  Wellesley 
and  Gerald  Wellesley, 

"Tenthly:  To  give  to  my  nephew  Henry  Wellesley,  the  eldest 
son  of  my  brother,  the  Honble.  Henry  Wellesley,  by  Lady  Char- 
lotte his  first  wife,  and  the  heirs  male  of  his  body,  the  use  of  my 
house  in  Piccadilly  and  the  furniture  thereunto  belonging,  and  to 
pay  him  the  said  Henry  Wellesley  and  the  heirs  male  of  his  body 
the  annual  interest  which  may  be  received  for  such  money  in  the 
funds  in  Exchequer  Bills  or  wherever  it  may  be  and  the  rent  aris- 
ing from  any  estate  which  may  be  purchased  by  the  trustees  with 
the  said  money.  My  son  Arthur,  Marquis  of  Douro,  will  have 
all  that  has  been  granted  to  me  by  Pari-,  the  Estate  granted  to 
me  by  the  Cortes  and  King  of  Spain,  the  Pension  granted  to  me 
by  the  King  of  Portugal  and  the  Estate  granted  to  me  by  the 
King  of  the  Netherlands,  and  in  case  of  his  death  without  heirs 
male,  my  second  son.  Lord  Charles  Wellesley,  will  succeed  to  the 
same.  In  case  of  the  death  without  heirs  male  of  my  two  sons 
above  mentioned,  I  leave  and  bequeath  to  my  nephew  Arthur 
Wellesley,  the  eldest  son  of  my  brother  Gerald  Wellesley,  by 


ANCIENT,   CURIOUS,  AND  FAMOUS  WILLS      323 

Lady  Emily  his  wife,  and  the  heirs  male  of  his  body  all  the  money 
which  has  been  granted  to  me  by  Pari-  and  the  estates  purchased 
with  the  said  money.  In  case  of  the  death  without  heirs  male 
of  my  sons  aforesaid  and  of  my  nephew,  the  said  Arthur  Welles- 
ley,  I  leave  and  bequeath  to  my  nephew  Gerald  Wellesley,  the 
third  son  of  my  brother  Henry  Wellesley,  by  Lady  Charlotte  his 
first  wife,  and  the  heirs  male  of  his  body  all  the  money  which  has 
been  granted  to  me  by  Pari-  and  the  estates  purchased  with  the 
said  money.  In  case  of  the  death  without  heirs  male  of  both  my 
sons  and  nephews  aforesaid,  I  leave  and  bequeath  to  my  nephew, 
Henry  Wellesley  the  eldest  son  of  my  brother  Henry  Wellesley, 
by  Lady  Charlotte  his  wife,  and  the  heirs  male  of  his  body  all 
the  money  which  has  been  granted  to  me  by  Pari-  and  the  estates 
purchased  with  the  said  money. 

"  I  request  the  trustees  appointed  by  Pari*  to  carry  into  execu- 
tion the  objects  of  the  different  Grants  made  to  me,  to  be  the 
Guardians  of  my  sons.  I  wish  them  both,  as  well  as  my  nephews 
above  mentioned,  to  serve  the  King  in  his  Army  and  that  they 
should  receive  the  best  education  which  can  be  given  to  them  in 
order  to  qualify  them  to  do  so  with  advantage  to  the  King  and 
honour  to  themselves.  They  should  therefore  finish  their  studies 
at  Eton  and  at  one  of  the  Universities,  besides  obtaining  a  knowl- 
edge of  the  Sciences  necessary  for  those  who  enter  the  Military 
Profession. 

"I  wish  my  Secretary,  Col.  Hervey,  to  take  charge  of  my  Private 
papers  at  Paris  and  to  burn  such  as  he  may  think  proper. 

"Wellington  (LS). 

"Signed  and  Sealed  at  Paris  on  the  17th  of  February,  1818,  in 
the  presence  of  —  C.  Campbell,  Col.  and  Capt.  Ad  Guards  — 
Geo.  Cathcart  6th  D.G.  —  Arthur  HiU  Capt.  2nd  Drag""'." 


CHAPTER  VII 

WILLS   OF   FAMOUS   AMERICANS 

"...  The  past  is  all  holy  to  us ; 
Sad  and  soft  in  the  moonlight  of  memory." 

Will  of  John  Quincy  Adams 

John  Quincy  Adams  died  February  23,  1848.  His  will  is  in 
part  as  follows : 

"Know  all  men  by  these  presents, 
"that  I,  John  Quincy  Adams,  of  Quincy  in  the  County  of  Norfolk 
and  Commonwealth  of  Massachusetts,  Doctor  of  Laws,  do  make, 
ordain,  publish  and  declare  this  to  be  my  last  will  and  testament 
hereby  revoking  all  wills  by  me  heretofore  made  and  particularly 
one  made  on  or  about  the  30th  day  of  October,  1832,  the  last  will 
made  by  me  preceding  the  present,  which  has  become  mislaid 
among  my  papers  so  that  I  cannot  find  it;  I  therefore  revoke 
and  annul  the  same  in  all  and  every  particular  of  the  same;  of 
which  said  will,  as  far  as  my  memory  retains  it,  Joseph  Hall, 
Edward  Cruft  and  James  H.  Foster  were  subscribing  witnesses. 

"1st.  I  do  hereby  constitute  and  appoint  my  only  surviving 
son  Charles  Francis  Adams  of  Boston  Esquire,  my  sole  Executor 
for  all  my  property  in  this  Commonwealth  or  in  the  District  of 
Columbia  or  elsewhere ;  and  I  direct  him  hereby  to  take  out 
Letters  of  Administration  as  well  in  the  County  of  Norfolk  in 
this  Commonwealth  as  in  the  County  of  Washington  in  the  Dis- 
trict of  Columbia,  and  if  necessary  in  the  State  of  Pennsylvania, 
so  that  he  may  administer  upon  any  property,  real,  personal  or 
mixed  pertaining  to  me  in  any  part  of  the  United  States  at  the 
time  of  my  decease,  and  I  hereby  constitute  my  said  son  residuary 
Legatee  of  all  property,  real,  personal  and  mixed  belonging  to  me, 
not  otherwise  disposed  of  by  this  will. 

"  2nd.  But  in  the  event  of  the  decease  of  my  said  Son,  which  God 
forbid,  my  beloved  wife  still  surviving,  I  do  hereby  constitute  her 
the  Sole  Executrix  of  all  my  goods,  estate  and  property  not  pre- 
viously administered,  with  such  assistants  as  she  may  name  and 

324 


ANCIENT,   CURIOUS,  AND  FAMOUS  WILLS      325 

as  may  be  assented  to  by  the  Judge  of  Probate  of  the  County 
wherein  my  said  will  may  be  proved  and  approved." 

He  gives  and  bequeaths  to  his  beloved  wife  Louisa  Catherine 
Adams,  his  dwelhng  house  and  lot  in  the  city  of  Washington,  and 
the  dwelling  house  and  farm  at  Quincy  "including  the  lots  of  Salt 
Marsh  heretofore  leased  in  Connexion  therewith." 

He  also  gives  to  his  wife  the  dwelhng-house  and  land  situated 
on  F.  Street  in  the  city  of  Washington,  being  his  residence  in  the 
capital. 

He  gives  to  his  said  wife  the  furniture  in  the  dwelling-house  at 
Quincy,  with  the  exception  of  such  articles  as  are  specifically  other- 
wise bequeathed,  also  all  carriages  and  horses,  china,  plate  and 
plated  ware,  as  well  at  Quincy  as  at  Washington,  excepting  such 
articles  thereinafter  otherwise  bequeathed,  and  all  the  wines  in  the 
cellars  and  closets  in  dwelling-houses  in  both  places. 

He  gives  to  his  said  wife  in  lieu  and  as  a  full  equivalent  for  her 
right  of  dower  in  all  the  rest  and  residue  of  his  real  estate,  whether 
in  Massachusetts  or  in  Washington,  or  elsewhere,  provided  she 
consent  to  renounce  the  same,  the  sum  of  $2000  per  annum,  to  be 
paid  to  her  during  her  natural  hfe,  constituting  the  same  a  charge 
upon  his  estate,  to  be  paid  to  her  in  cash  every  year  she  may  live. 

To  his  son,  Charles  Francis  Adams,  he  gives  all  shares  and  certifi- 
cates of  stocks  in  the  Middlesex  &  Quincy  Canals,  Braintree  and 
Weymouth  Turnpike,  Banks,  Insurance  Companies,  Markets  and 
Hotels ;  also  all  interest  in  mortgages  upon  real  estate  and  city 
stocks,  and  generally  all  and  singular  the  personal  property  of 
every  description,  not  otherwise  bequeathed,  in  trust  upon  the 
following  conditions  and  for  the  following  purposes  :  That  he  shall, 
"  during  the  natural  life  of  my  said  wife,  Louisa  Catherine  Adams, 
pay  over  to  her  one  entire  third  part  of  the  revenue  in  each  and 
every  year ;  and  of  the  remaining  two-thirds  of  said  revenue,  he 
shall  reserve  one-half  to  himself  and  his  own  use  and  behoof,  and 
of  the  other  half  he  shall  pay  over  to  my  daughter-in-law,  Mrs. 
Mary  Catherine  Adams  one  moiety  thereof  during  her  natural 
life,  and  the  remaining  moiety  to  my  granddaughter,  Mary  Louisa 
Adams,  daughter  of  my  son  John  Adams,  deceased,  and  said 
Mary  Catherine." 

Upon  the  death  of  his  wife,  Louisa  Catherine  Adams,  a  division 
is  to  be  made  of  the  principal  of  the  personal  property  thus  held 
by  his  son  and  executor,  by  which  one-half  is  to  be  given  to  his 
said  son  Charles  Francis  Adams,  and  of  the  income  arising  from 


326      ANCIENT,  CURIOUS,  AND  FAMOUS  WILLS 

the  other  half  of  the  same,  the  sum  of  $6000  is  to  be  paid  to  his 
daughter-in-law,  Mary  Catherine  Adams,  and  the  remainder  of 
said  income  and  proceeds  shall  be  paid  to  his  granddaughter, 
Mary  L.  Adams,  during  the  natural  life  of  her  mother,  and  "upon 
the  decease  of  her  mother  the  whole  of  said  half  part  of  said 
property  as  well  as  all  other  personal  property  held  in  trust  by 
said  executor  for  the  benefit  of  said  Mary  L.  Adams"  is  to  be 
settled  upon  said  Mary  L.  Adams  by  said  executor. 

He  gives  to  his  son,  Charles  Francis  Adams,  his  estate  at  Mount 
WoUaston  in  the  town  of  Quincy,  with  the  dwelUng-house  and 
barns  thereon  situated. 

He  gives  to  his  son,  Charles  Francis  Adams,  and  the  heirs  of  his 
body  all  the  rest  and  residue  of  real  estate,  including  all  wood  lots, 
quarry  lands  and  salt  marsh,  of  which  he  shall  die  seized  within 
the  limits  of  the  towns  of  Quincy,  Braintree  or  Milton :  "  Provided 
there  be  secured  to  be  paid  by  said  son,the  principal  sum  of  $20,000, 
said  sum  to  be  a  capital  for  the  benefit  of  my  granddaughter, 
Mary  L.  Adams." 

He  gives  to  his  son,  Charles  Francis  Adams,  realty  situated  in 
Fremont  Street  and  in  Court  Street,  city  of  Boston,  and  county 
of  Suffolk. 

He  gives  and  bequeaths  to  his  granddaughter,  Mary  L.  Adams, 
the  estate  in  Beach  Street,  city  of  Boston,  and  also  the  estate  of 
which  he  stands  possessed  under  breach  of  condition  of  mortgage 
in  Curve  Street  in  Boston,  "should  the  same  become  mine,  as  is 
probable,  by  foreclosure,  in  regular  course  of  law,"  also  all  right, 
title  and  interest  he  has  or  may  have  in  two  stores  on  Eastern  Rail- 
way Avenue,  in  said  Boston,  over  and  above  amounts  for  which 
they  are  respectively  mortgaged,  to  her  and  her  heirs  and  assigns 
forever. 

He  gives  to  his  son,  Charles  Francis  Adams,  the  estate  in  Weston, 
in  this  commonwealth,  bequeathed  to  him  by  his  friend  Ward 
Nicholas  Boylston,  Esq.,  and  the  whole  of  his  estate  situated  in 
city  and  county  of  Washington,  D.C.,  consisting  of  house  in  F. 
Street,  and  the  land  appertaining,  subject  to  life  estate  already 
granted  to  his  wife,  also  store  and  house  situated  in  Pennsylvania 
Avenue,  also  estate  known  under  name  of  Columbia  Mills,  also 
Square  numbered  592  and  all  other  lands  of  which  he  may  die 
seized  and  possessed  in  the  District  of  Columbia,  to  have  and  to 
hold  to  him,  his  heirs  and  assigns,  in  trust,  however,  for  the 
benefit  of  his  granddaughter,  Mary  L.  Adams. 


ANCIENT,  CURIOUS,  AND  FAMOUS  WILLS      327 

He  constitutes  and  creates  a  charge  upon  all  various  devises  of 
real  estate  made  for  the  benefit  of  his  granddaughter,  Mary  L. 
Adams ;  that  out  of  the  annual  proceeds,  rents  and  profits  of  same 
there  be  paid  during  the  life  or  widowhood  of  his  mother,  Mary 
Catherine  Adams,  the  sum  of  $600  in  each  and  every  year  to  the 
said  Mary  Catherine  Adams. 

He  gives  to  Elizabeth  C.  Adams,  Isaac  H.  Adams,  John  Quincy 
Adams  and  Joseph  H.  Adams,  surviving  children  of  his  brother, 
the  late  Thos.  B.  Adams,  of  Quincy,  the  house  and  farm  in  Brain- 
tree  and  house  and  farm  in  Medford,  which  were  mortgaged  to 
him  by  said  brother,  and  of  which  he  had  taken  legal  possession  for 
breach  of  condition  of  said  mortgage. 

He  gives  his  Ubrary  of  books,  manuscript  books  and  papers  and 
those  of  his  father  and  all  his  family  pictures,  except  such  as  may 
be  therein  otherwise  specifically  devised  to  his  son,  Charles  Francis 
Adams,  "trusting  that  his  mother  shall  at  all  times  have  the  use 
of  any  of  the  books  in  the  library  at  her  discretion" ;  and  recom- 
mends that  his  said  son,  as  soon  as  suits  his  own  convenience,  shall 
"cause  a  building  to  be  erected,  made  fireproof,  in  which  to  keep 
the  said  library,  books,  documents  and  manuscripts  safe,  but  always 
to  be  subject  to  his  convenience,"  and  especially  recommends  to  his 
care  the  said  library,  manuscripts,  books  and  papers,  and  that  he 
will  as  far  as  may  be  in  his  power  keep  them  together  as  one  library 
to  be  transmitted  to  his  eldest  son  as  one  property  to  remain  in  the 
family,  and  not  to  be  sold  or  disposed  of  as  long  as  may  be  prac- 
ticable, being  always  confided  to  the  faithful  custody  of  the  person 
holding  the  legal  title  in  the  same. 

He  gives  to  his  granddaughter  Mary  L.  Adams,  "Portrait  of  my 
father,  painted  by  Stewart  and  all  the  other  family  portraits  now 
in  house  in  F.  Street  which  I  occupy." 

He  gives  to  the  people  of  the  U.S.  of  America  an  ivory  cane  pre- 
sented to  him  by  Julius  Pratt  of  Meriden  in  Connecticut  and  by  him 
deposited  in  the  custody  of  the  Commissioner  of  Patents  at  Wash- 
ington to  remain  in  his  custody  until  called  for  by  him,  the  said 
cane  bearing  on  it  an  inscription  in  honor  of  the  repeal  by  the 
House  of  Representatives  of  a  bill  prohibiting  the  reception  of 
petitions  on  the  subject  of  slavery,  December  3,  1844. 

He  gives  to  his  grandson,  John  Quincy  Adams,  son  of  Charles 
Francis  Adams,  "a  gold -headed  cane  cut  from  the  timbers  of  the 
frigate  Constitution  and  presented  to  me  by  Minot  Thayer, 
Samuel  A.  Turner,  Ebenezer  T.   Fogg,   Solomon  Richards  and 


328      ANCIENT,   CURIOUS,  AND  FAMOUS  WILLS 

Harvey  Field,  Committee,  April  1st,  1837,  on  the  head  of  which  is 
engraved  the  members  of  the  House  of  Representatives  of  Massa- 
chusetts from  the  several  towns  of  my  District  in  the  year  1837, 
in  token  of  their  sense  of  my  public  services  in  defending  in  the 
Congress  of  the  United  States  the  right  of  petition  of  the  people  of 
the  U.S.  in  that  body ;  and  I  request  my  son  to  have  the  custody 
of  this  bequest  until  his  said  son  John  Quincy  shall  come  of  age." 

"20th.  I  give  and  bequeath  to  my  grandson  Charles  Francis 
Adams  second  son  of  my  son,  aforesaid,  a  cane  also  cut  from  the 
timbers  of  the  frigate  Constitution,  and  given  to  me  by  its  Com- 
mander Commodore  Isaac  Hull  in  the  year  1836,  which  is  marked 
upon  a  silver  ring  immediately  under  the  head  of  said  cane. 

"21st.  I  give  to  my  grandson  Henry  Brooks  Adams,  third  son 
of  my  son  aforesaid,  a  cane  made  of  olive  from  Mount  Olivet  in 
Jerusalem,  given  to  me  by  my  nephew  Joseph  Harrod  Adams  by 
whom  it  was  caused  to  be  cut  on  the  spot,  he  being  personally  there 
as  an  officer  of  the  United  States. 

"  22nd.  I  have  given  to  my  daughter  A.  B.  Adams,  wife  of  my 
son  Charles  Francis  Adams,  the  portfolio  of  engravings  of  pictures 
of  Colonel  Trumbull,  presented  to  me  by  him.  I  now  give  to  her 
a  silver  tankard  which  was  my  mother's,  from  her  grandfather 
John  Quincy  —  also  the  portrait  of  the  said  John  Quincy  at  two 
years  of  age  now  in  her  house  at  Quincy,  and  that  of  his  mother, 
being  Anna  Shepard,  daughter  of  the  celebrated  Thomas  Shepard, 
minister  of  Charleston,  by  whom  the  estate  at  Mount  Wollaston 
was  bequeathed  by  will  to  the  said  John  Quincy.  These  pictures 
were  given  to  me  by  will  of  Norton  Quincy,  only  son  of  the  said 
John  Quincy. 

"23rd.  I  give  and  bequeath  to  my  friend  the  Reverend  Dr. 
Nathaniel  L.  Frothingham,  a  seal  with  a  device  of  an  oak  acorn, 
and  the  motto  'alteri  seculo'  as  a  small  token  of  my  personal 
esteem  and  friendship  for  him. 

"  24th.  I  give  and  bequeath  to  my  friend  Dr.  George  Parkman 
of  Boston  a  seal  enchased  with  the  image  of  General  George  Wash- 
ington as  a  small  token  of  the  esteem  and  affection  which  I  bear 
to  him. 

"25th.  I  give  and  bequeath  to  my  grandson  John  Quincy 
Adams  my  Chronometer  made  by  French,  bearing  his  initials, 
being  the  same  as  my  own,  to  be  kept  by  his  father  until  he  shall 
think  proper  to  deliver  it  to  him. 

"26th,     I  give  to  my  granddaughter  Mary  Louisa  Adams,  my 


ANCIENT,  CURIOUS,  AND  FAMOUS  WILLS      329 

seal  bearing  a  Lion  engraved  upon  a  Silesian  stone,  which  I  had 
engraved  there  at  the  time  of  my  tour  through  that  country ;  the 
gold  medal  presented  to  me  by  the  Corporation  of  the  City  of  New 
York  struck  on  the  opening  of  the  Grand  Canal,  the  silver  cup  with 
the  inscription  '  Circes  pocula  nosti '  —  and  the  seal  engraved  on 
a  Sardonyx  with  my  cipher  on  one  side  and  the  Boylston  arms  on 
the  other,  I  give  all  other  medals,  coins,  or  presents  of  small 
value  which  I  have  received,  a  silver  wafer  box,  and  pair  of  portable 
candlesticks,  my  own  cushion,  seal  at  arms  on  a  cornelian  and  my 
seal  with  the  device  of  the  Eagle  and  Lyre  to  my  son  Charles 
Francis  Adams.  Also  a  bronze  medal  given  to  me  by  Commodore 
Jesse  D.  Elliot  struck  by  his  order  in  honor  of  Thomas  Cooper 
Esqr.  and  also  another  medal  in  silver  which  he  directed  to  be 
given  to  the  historical  society  of  Rhode  Island,  refused  by  that 
society  shortly  before  his  death  and  held  by  me  subject  to  their 
order.  Also  the  history  of  the  Croton  Aqueduct  a  present  from 
the  City  of  New  York, 

"27th.  I  give  to  my  daughters  in  law  Mary  Catharine  Adams, 
widow  of  my  son  John  Adams,  and  to  Abigail  Brown  Adams, 
wife  of  my  son  Charles  Francis  Adams,  one  hundred  dollars  each 
to  purchase  some  permanent  token  of  remembrance  of  me  which 
they  may  leave  to  their  daughters ;  and  I  further  give  to  my  said 
daughter  Mary  Catherine  Adams  the  clock  with  the  device  of 
Penelope  in  my  chamber  at  Washington. 

"28th.  I  give  to  my  nephew  and  namesake  John  Quincy 
Adams  my  small  seal  with  my  cipher  engraved  upon  a  cornelian; 
and  a  pair  of  gold  sleeve  buttons,  with  the  motto  '  aequam  memento 
servare  memtem'  which  I  wore  when  I  was  President  of  the 
United  States." 

He  gives  to  each  of  his  two  granddaughters,  Mary  Louise  Adams, 
daughter  of  his  son,  John  Adams,  deceased,  and  to  Louisa  Catherine 
Adams,  daughter  of  his  son,  Charles  Francis  Adams,  one-half  of 
the  sums  deposited  in  his  name  in  the  Institution  for  Savings  in  the 
City  of  Boston,  the  said  sums  to  remain  on  deposit  there  until  the 
thirteenth  day  of  August  1852,  when  the  younger  of  the  two 
would,  if  living,  attain  the  age  of  twenty-one  years. 

"30th.  I  also  give  to  my  son  Charles  Francis  Adams  and  to  his 
heirs  and  assigns  the  Pew  numbered  Fifty  four  in  the  Stone  Meet- 
ing house  at  Quincy,  also  the  Pew  in  the  Gallery  Numbered  Five, 
and  the  family  tomb  in  the  grave  yard  opposite  the  said  meeting 
house. 


330      ANCIENT,  CURIOUS,  AND  FAMOUS  WILLS 

"31st.  I  also  give  to  my  wife  Louisa  Catherine  Adams  the  pew 
which  I  own  in  St.  Johns  Church  at  Washington,  and  also  the 
pew  which  I  own  in  Christ  Church  at  Quincy. 

"32nd.  I  give  and  devise  to  the  supervisors  of  the  Adams 
Temple  and  school  fund  at  Quincy  all  the  remaining  pews  in  the 
Stone  Meeting  house  at  Quincy  of  whicj;i  I  retain  the  property  to 
be  by  them  held  or  sold  as  in  their  judgment  shall  be  deemed  best ; 
and  the  proceeds  of  the  same  shall  be  apphed  to  the  erection  of  a 
stone  school  house  over  the  cellar  which  was  under  the  house 
formerly  built  by  the  Reverend  John  Hancock,  conformably  to  the 
deed  of  gift  of  my  deceased  father  John  Adams,  of  the  twenty  fifth 
of  July  in  the  year  eighteen  hundred  and  twenty  two  to  the  Inhabit- 
ants of  the  Town  of  Quincy. 

"33rd.  I  give  and  bequeath  to  my  cousin  Louisa  Catherine 
Smith  the  sum  of  fifty  dollars  per  annum  as  an  annuity  to  be  paid 
by  my  Executor  during  her  life  and  as  a  slight  token  of  my  regard 
for  her. 

"In  testimony  whereof  I  have  hereunto  set  my  hand  and  seal  at 
the  City  of  Boston  this  Eighteenth  day  of  January  in  the  year  of 
our  Lord  eighteen  hundred  and  forty  seven. 

"John  Quincy  Adams." 

Will  of  Captain  John  Alden 

The  gravestone  of  Captain  John  Alden,  who  died  at  Boston, 
Massachusetts,  on  the  14th  day  of  March,  1702,  at  5  o'clock  in  the 
afternoon,  at  the  age  of  seventy-five,  is  now  in  the  porch  of  the 
New  Old  South  Church.  He  was  the  son  of  John  Alden  who  was 
engaged  in  making  repairs  on  the  Mayflower  at  Southampton, 
and  sailed  in  her  with  the  Pilgrim  Fathers,  afterwards  marrying 
Priscilla  Mullens,  whose  name  is  famiharized  by  Longfellow's  poem, 
"The  Courtship  of  Myles  Standish." 

Captain  John  Alden's  will  is  dated  the  seventeenth  day  of 
February,  1701.  He  directed  that  his  body  should  be  decently 
buried,  at  the  discretion  of  his  executors  in  said  will  named. 
After  the  payment  of  his  just  debts  and  funeral  expenses  and 
legacies,  the  remainder  of  his  estate  in  "housing,  lands,  money, 
plate,  debts,  goods  &  moveables  wheresoever  lying  or  to  be  found," 
was  to  be  divided  into  five  equal  parts  or  shares  :  one  part  was  to 
be  given  to  his  son,  John  Alden,  and  the  remaining  fifths  divided 
among  other  children  and  grandchildren.     And  his  children  are 


ANCIENT,  CURIOUS,  AND  FAMOUS  WILLS      331 

given  the  liberty  of  using  his  kitchen  "for  washing,  brewing  and 
baking"  and  all  his  garden  "for  the  hanging  and  drying  of  their 
cloathes." 

Will  of  Benedict  Arnold 

Benedict  Arnold,  the  traitor  of  his  country,  died  in  London, 
June  14,  1801.  Any  one  interested  in  seeing  the  original  of  his 
will  can  find  it  in  the  Recorder's  Ofiice  at  Somerset  House,  Lon- 
don. As  many  of  our  readers  will  be  interested  in  knowing  how 
he  ended  his  days,  his  last  will  is  here  given  in  full : 

"I,  Benedict  Arnold  of  the  city  of  London,  being  of  sound  mind 
and  memory,  do  make  and  constitute  this  my  last  will  and  testa- 
ment in  manner  following : 

"Imprimis.  It  is  my  will  that  all  my  just  debts  and  funeral 
expenses  be  first  paid,  the  latter  I  request  may  be  only  decent,  but 
by  no  means  attended  with  any  expense  that  can  be  possibly 
avoided. 

"Item.  I  give  to  my  sister  Hannah  Arnold  forty  pounds  ster- 
ling per  annum  during  her  natural  life,  to  be  paid  to  her  annually 
out  of  the  interest  of  such  monies  or  income  of  such  estate  as  I 
may  die  possessed  of,  provided  she  shall  and  does  give  up  to  my 
heirs  or  executors  all  obligations  that  she  may  have  against  me 
and  also  does  relinquish  all  claims  against  my  estate  except  for 
the  annuity  before  mentioned. 

"Item.  I  give  and  bequeath  to  my  sons  Richard  and  Henry 
all  sums  of  money  that  they  are  in  anywise  indebted  to  me  and 
having  in  the  course  of  the  last  and  present  year  written  to  them 
to  draw  Bills  of  Exchange  upon  me  in  London  for  the  following 
sums  of  money,  vizt :  one  hundred  and  eighty  pounds  sterling 
(to  make  up  a  sum  of  three  hundred  pounds  part  of  which  I  have 
paid  to  them)  to  enable  them  to  build  and  stock  their  farm  in 
Canada,  also  two  hundred  and  thirty  pounds  sterling  to  enable 
them  to  pay  two  protested  Bills  as  also  three  hundred  and  sixty 
pounds  sterling  to  enable  them  to  pay  all  their  debts  due  in  January 
1801,  to  the  total  amount  adding  these  sums,  of  seven  hundred 
and  seventy  pounds  sterling.  I  give  and  bequeath  the  before 
mentioned  sums  of  money  to  my  sons  Richard  and  Henry  equally, 
and  it  is  my  will  and  pleasure  that  their  Bills  of  Exchange  for  the 
before  mentioned  sums  be  honored  by  my  executors  and  paid  out 
of  the  estate  I  may  die  possessed  of. 

"Item.     I  give,  devise  and  bequeath  to  my  beloved  wife,  heirs. 


332     ANCIENT,  CURIOUS,  AND  FAMOUS  WILLS 

executors  and  administrators  all  my  estate  both  real  and  personal 
that  I  may  die  possessed  of,  after  paying  my  debts  and  legacies 
as  before  and  hereinafter  mentioned,  for  her  own  use  and  benefit 
during  her  continuing  a  widow  and  to  be  disposed  of  among  all 
my  children  at  her  death,  as  she  may  think  proper  not  doubting 
her  doing  them  all  equal  justice ;  but  should  she  marry  again, 
then  it  is  in  that  case  my  will  and  pleasure  that  all  my  property 
shall  be  divided  among  my  children  upon  her  second  marriage,  and 
in  that  case  I  do  hereby  give,  devise  and  bequeath  all  my  estate 
both  real  and  personal  that  I  now  have  or  may  die  possessed  of  to 
my  children  to  be  divided  among  them  in  such  equal  proportions 
as  my  beloved  wife  shall  think  just  and  proper,  consideration  being 
had  for  the  sums  of  money  that  they  have  already  received  and 
that  have  been  expended  upon  them  for  their  education  &c ;  and 
consideration  being  also  had  to  their  respective  ages  and  situations 
in  life  not  doubting  that  she  will  do  them  all  equal  justice  as  she 
well  knows  it  is  and  has  always  been  my  intention  (as  my  affection 
has  been  equally  divided  amongst  them)  to  make  an  equal  provi- 
sion for  them  all. 

"Item.  I  give,  devise  and  bequeath  to  John  Sage,  now  in 
Canada  living  with  my  sons  there  (being  about  fourteen  years  of 
age)  twelve  hundred  acres  of  land  being  part  of  a  Grant  of  thirteen 
thousand  four  hundred  acres  of  land  made  to  me  as  an  half-pay 
Officer  for  myself  and  family  by  Order  of  the  Duke  of  Portland 
by  his  letter  directed  to  Peter  Russel  Esquire  President  of  the 
Council  in  Upper  Canada,  dated  the  12  June  1798,  which  said 
1200  acres  of  land  I  give  to  him  to  be  counted  altogether  in  one 
place  out  of  the  before  mentioned  grant  as  my  executrix  may  judge 
equal  and  fair.  I  also  do  hereby  give  and  bequeath  to  the  said 
John  Sage  twenty  pounds  per  annum  to  be  paid  to  my  sons  Richard 
and  Henry  for  his  use  for  board  cloathing  and  education  until  he 
shall  be  of  the  age  of  twenty-one  years,  to  be  paid  out  of  the  estate 
I  may  die  possessed  of.  I  also  give  and  bequeath  to  the  said  John 
Sage  fifty  pounds,  to  be  paid  to  him  when  he  shall  attain  the  age  of 
twenty  one  years.  I  do  hereby  constitute  and  appoint  my  beloved 
wife  sole  Executrix  to  this  my  last  will  and  testament  and  in  case 
my  wife  should  marry  again  or  die  intestate  I  do  hereby  constitute 
and  appoint  Miss  Ann  Fitch  and  Miss  Sarah  Fitch  of  Devonshire 
Street  joint  trustees  to  manage  my  estate  and  carry  this  my  will 
into  execution,  and  they  are  hereby  authorised  (should  it  be  neces- 
sary to  sell  any  part  of  my  real  estate  for  that  purpose)  to  give 


ANCIENT,  CURIOUS,  AND  FAMOUS  WILLS      333 

receipts  to  the  purchasers  for  the  purchase  money,  which  shall  be 
considered  as  good  and  valid ;  but  should  my  wife  die  intestate 
I  do  hereby  give,  devise  and  bequeath  to  all  my  children  all  my 
estate  both  real  and  personal  that  I  may  die  possessed  of,  after 
paying  my  legacies  &c  to  be  divided  among  them  in  the  following 
manner,  vizt :  the  whole  to  be  divided  into  twelve  equal  shares 
&  to  Sophia  I  give  four  shares,  to  William  I  give  two  shares,  to 
George  I  give  two  shares,  and  to  Richard,  Henry,  Edward  and 
James  I  give  each  one  share,  and  I  do  hereby  appoint  the  before 
named  trustees  to  see  the  same  carried  into  execution,  and  I  do 
hereby  constitute  and  appoint  my  beloved  wife  sole  Executrix  of 
this  my  last  will  and  testament,  in  witness  whereof,  I  have  here- 
unto set  my  hand  and  seal  in  London  this  30th  day  of  August  in 
the  year  of  our  Lord  one  thousand  eight  hundred. 

"Benedict  Arnold." 

Will  of  John  James  Audubon 

John  James  Audubon  died  January  27,  1851.  His  will  is  a 
short  document  and  is  as  follows : 

"In  the  Name  of  God  Amen. 

"I,  John  James  Audubon  of  the  City  and  State  of  New  York 
do  make  and  publish  this  my  last  Will  and  Testament  as  follows  : 

"  1st.  First :  I  order  and  direct  that  all  my  just  debts  and  funeral 
expenses  be  paid  as  soon  after  my  decease  as  conveniently  can  be 
done. 

"2d.  Second:  I  give  devise  and  bequeath  to  my  wife  Lucy 
Audubon  and  to  my  two  sons  Victor  Gifford  Audubon  and  John 
Woodhouse  Audubon  all  my  real  and  personal  property  of  what- 
ever nature  or  kind  soever  excepting  my  household  furniture 
articles  of  silver  and  silver  plate  share  and  share  alike. 

"3rd.  Thirdly:  I  give,  devise  and  bequeath  to  my  wife  all  my 
household  furniture  articles  of  silver  and  silver  plate. 

"Lastly.  I  nominate,  constitute  and  appoint  my  said  two  sons 
Executors  and  my  wife  Executrix  of  this  my  last  Will  and  Testa- 
ment hereby  revoking  and  annulling  all  other  and  former  Wills 
by  me  made. 

"In  witness  whereof  I  have  hereunto  signed  my  name  and 
affixed  my  seal  this  nineteenth  day  of  April  in  the  year  of  our 
Lord  one  thousand  eight  hundred  and  forty  one. 

"John  James  Audubon." 


334      ANCIENT,  CURIOUS,  AND  FAMOUS  WILLS 

Will  of  Phineas  Taylor  Barnum 
Phineas  Taylor  Barnum  died  April  7,  1891.  The  Probate 
Court  of  Bridgeport,  Connecticut,  will,  on  request,  furnish  you  with 
a  copy  of  his  will ;  it  would  seem  that  printer's  ink  is  used  by 
Barnum's  executors,  following  the  testator's  example,  for  the  will 
is  in  the  shape  of  a  booklet  containing  fifty-three  pages,  and  is  the 
most  lengthy  testamentary  document  which  has  come  under  our 
observation.  The  legacies  and  gifts  under  it  exceed  one  hundred 
and  fifty  in  number  and  several  million  dollars  in  amount.  Then 
are  added  to  the  will,  eight  codicils  of  unusual  length  and  of  great 
particularity.  The  will  itself  is  dated  the  30th  day  of  January, 
1882,  the  last  codicil,  the  year  in  which  he  died,  1891. 

By  the  will,  the  testator  gives  an  annuity  of  $9000  to  his  wife, 
Nancy,  together  with  the  use  of  certain  personal  property ;  there 
is  also  given  her,  the  use  for  life  of  his  residence,  "Waldemere," 
which  was  a  villa  in  imitation  of  the  Brighton  Pavilion.  He  says  : 
"I  love  the  pleasant  city  of  my  adoption  (Bridgeport),  and  ar- 
dently hope  for  its  moral  and  material  improvement ;  a  large  share 
of  my  income,  during  my  residence  here  of  nearly  forty  years,  has 
been  devoted  to  its  public  and  private  charities,  and  to  improving 
and  developing  its  parks,  avenues,  and  its  waste  places,  erecting 
houses,  factories,  &c.  Having  thus  preferred  to  see  my  money 
used  here,  under  my  own  eyes,  rather  than  to  leave  it  to  be  used  by 
others."  There  is  an  annuity  of  $1500  given  a  daughter,  Helen, 
during  her  natural  life,  subject  to  certain  legacies  and  annuities ; 
the  residue  of  his  estate  is  placed  in  the  hands  of  trustees  to  be 
divided  equally  between  a  daughter,  Caroline  C.  Thompson,  the 
children  of  a  deceased  daughter,  Pauline  T.  Seeley,  and  the  chil- 
dren of  a  daughter,  Helen  M.  Buchtel.  The  old  family  Bible,  the 
bust  of  Jenny  Lind,  and  the  contract  with  Jenny  Lind,  are  given 
to  his  daughter,  Caroline :  seven  gifts  of  books  are  made  to  pub- 
lishers, "as  a  faint  recognition  of  the  Public  Press,  to  which  lam 
so  much  indebted." 

From  the  profits  of  the  "show  business,"  the  executors  are 
directed  to  reserve  a  fund  of  $200,000,  "to  meet  the  outlays  yearly 
required  for  the  successful  prosecution  of  said  business  in  an 
honorable,  respectable  and  strictly  moral  manner  with  a  view  to 
refine  and  elevate  such  recreations  and  to  edify  and  instruct  as 
well  as  innocently  amuse  those  who  attend  them ;  and  the  agents 
employed  for  the  purpose  must  be  qualified  and  of  temperate 
habits,  and  undoubted  integrity." 


ANCIENT,   CURIOUS,  AND  FAMOUS   WILLS      335 

By  the  first  codicil,  a  diamond  stud  is  given  to  his  wife,  Nancy, 
to  be  hers  absolutely :  numerous  bequests  are  made,  many  of 
them  for  charitable  purposes,  including  an  endowment  fund  for 
"Barnum  Institute"  for  scientific  purposes.  The  testator  states, 
that  having  no  son,  the  name  Barnum  will  not  be  continued,  and 
on  condition  that  his  grandson,  Clinton  H.  Seeley,  will  call  himself 
Barnum  Seeley,  and  take  legal  steps  to  change  his  name,  he  is  to 
receive  $25,000. 

In  codicil  number  two,  numerous  bequests  and  legacies  are  made, 
and  an  estimated  value  of  three  million  dollars  is  placed  on  his 
estate.  Reference  is  made  to  a  gift  of  $2500  for  "preaching  the 
Gospel  and  distributing  Universalist  Literature." 

Codicil  number  three  revokes  certain  provisions  of  codicil 
number  one. 

Codicil  number  four  contains  legacies  to  Tufts  College,  the 
Barnum  Museum  of  Natural  History,  Bridgeport  Scientific  Society, 
and  other  institutions,  including  the  "Boys'  Club"  and  "Girls' 
Club"  of  Bridgeport. 

Codicil  number  five  gives  to  the  city  of  Bridgeport  $1000  for 
the  erection  of  a  statue  of  Henry  Bergh,  the  founder  of  the  society 
for  the  prevention  of  cruelty  to  animals.  To  his  wife,  Nancy,  he 
gives,  absolutely,  $100,000  and  $40,000  a  year  during  her  natural 
life,  these  in  lieu  of  the  legacies  and  annuities  given  her  by  the  will 
and  former  codicils. 

Codicil  number  six  directs  that  Thomas  Ball,  a  sculptor,  of 
Florence,  Italy,  be  consulted  with  reference  to  a  piece  of  orna- 
mental statuary  to  be  placed  on  the  testator's  burial  lot,  not  to 
exceed  in  cost  $8000. 

Codicil  number  seven  gives  $500  to  his  family  physician,  as  a 
mark  of  gratitude. 

Codicil  number  eight  mentions  the  erection  of  a  building  in 
Bridgeport,  to  be  known  as  "The  Barnum  Institute  of  Science  and 
History." 

Will  of  Henry  Ward  Beecher 

Henry  Ward  Beecher  died  March  8,  1887.  His  will  is  as  fol- 
lows: 

"In  the  Name  of  God,  Amen. 

"I,  Henry  Ward  Beecher,  of  the  City  of  Brooklyn,  and  State  of 
New  York,  hereby  revoking  all,  other  and  former  Wills  by  me 
heretofore  made,  do  make,  publish  and  declare  this  to  be  my  last 
Will  and  Testament. 


336      ANCIENT,  CURIOUS,  AND  FAMOUS  WILLS 

"I.  I  hereby  authorize  and  direct  my  Executors,  or  such  of 
them  as  shall  qualify,  upon  my  death  to  collect  and  receive  the 
amount  of  my  life  insurance,  to  invest  the  same,  and  to  pay  the 
proceeds  of  such  investment  to  my  wife  during  her  life,  in  equal 
quarter  yearly  payments. 

"II.  I  hereby  give,  bequeath  and  devise  unto  my  executors,  or 
such  of  them  as  shall  qualify,  the  rest,  residue  and  remainder  of 
my  estate,  both  real  and  personal,  of  every  kind,  in  trust  for  the 
benefit  of  my  children.  And  I  hereby  direct  that  my  said  Execu- 
tors, distribute  and  apportion  my  said  estate,  among  my  said  chil- 
dren, in  such  manner  and  form,  and  at  such  time  or  times,  as  shall 
in  their  Judgment  be  for  the  best  interest  of  my  said  children ; 
giving  unto  my  said  Executors  full  powers  to  sell  and  Mortgage 
such  and  so  much  of  my  real  and  personal  property,  as  they  shall 
deem  best,  and  to  invest  or  distribute  the  proceeds  of  such  sale  or 
sales,  as  herein  provided. 

"III.  It  is  my  Will,  that,  if  any  of  my  said  children  should  die, 
before  the  complete  distribution  of  my  estate  as  above  provided, 
leaving  issue  them  surviving,  that  such  issue  shall  stand  and  take 
in  the  place  and  stead  of  their  parent,  taking  'per  stirpes,  and  not 
per  capita. 

"IV.  I  hereby  nominate,  constitute  and  appoint  my  sons,  Henry 
B.  Beecher,  William  C.  Beecher  and  Herbert  F.  Beecher,  all  of 
Brooklyn,  New  York,  and  my  son-in-law,  Rev.  Samuel  Scoville,  of 
Norwich,  New  York,  the  Executors  and  Trustees  of  this  my  will, 
and  it  is  my  will  that  no  bonds  shall  be  required  of  them  or  either 
of  them. 

"  July  11th  1878.  "Henry  Ward  Beecher." 

Will  of  Thomas  H.  Benton 

Thomas  H.  Benton  died  April  10,  1858.     His  will  is  as  follows : 

"I,  Thomas  H.  Benton  of  the  State  of  Missouri,  now  in  the  City 
of  Washington  in  the  District  of  Columbia,  do  make  and  publish 
this  my  last  will  and  testament,  hereby  revoking  any  and  all  wills 
made  by  me  at  any  time  heretofore. 

"I  hereby  constitute  and  appoint  my  sons  in  law  William  Car- 
vey  Jones,  John  C.  Fremont  and  Richard  Taylor  Jacob,  and  my 
friends  Montgomery  Blair  and  Samuel  Phillips  Lee,  to  be  executors 
of  this  my  last  will  and  testament. 

"After  the  payment  of  my  just  debts  and  charges,  should  there 


ANCIENT,   CURIOUS,  AND  FAMOUS  WILLS      337 

be  any  such  at  the  time  of  my  death,  I  dispose  of  my  estate  as 
follows : 

"  I  give,  devise  and  bequeath  to  my  said  executors  and  the  survivor 
of  them,  and  the  heirs,  executors,  administrators  and  assigns  of  such 
survivor,  my  house  and  lot  on  C  Street  in  said  Washington  city,  now- 
occupied  by  me,  with  all  my  furniture  and  other  personal  property, 
except  my  books,  in  trust  to  hold  the  same  to  the  sole  and  separate 
use  of  my  daughter  Mrs.  Eliza  P.  C.  Jones,  free  from  any  control 
by,  or  liability  for  or  on  account  of,  her  present  or  any  future 
husband,  and  subject  to  such  direction  as  to  the  disposition  of  the 
same  as  she  may  at  any  time  give  in  writing  to  my  said  executors 
and  trustees  or  to  any  of  them ;  and  should  she  in  writing  direct  the 
said  property,  or  any  part  thereof,  to  be  commuted  for  other  prop- 
erty, then  to  hold  the  property  so  received  in  commutation  on  the 
same  trust  as  aforesaid.  It  is  my  intention  and  will  that  my  said 
daughter  Mrs.  Ehza  P.  C.  Jones  may,  if  she  be  so  pleased,  direct  the 
property  hereby  devised  in  trust  for  her,  or  any  part  thereof,  to  be 
sold,  and  receive  and  enjoy  the  proceeds  of  such  sale. 

"I  give  and  bequeath  all  my  hbrary  of  books  to  my  said  son-in- 
law  William  Carvey  Jones. 

"I  hereby  will  and  direct  that  out  of  the  first  moneys  which  may 
be  paid  to  my  estate  under  subsisting  contracts  for  a  certain  number 
of  years  with  Messrs.  Appleton  &  Co.  of  New  York,  publishers  of 
my  literary  works,  and  out  of  the  first  proceeds  of  the  sale  thereof, 
my  said  executors  shall  pay  to  my  daughter  Mrs.  EUza  P.  C.  Jones 
the  sum  of  ten  thousand  dollars,  and  to  my  daughter  Mrs.  Susan  T. 
Boileau  the  sum  of  five  thousand  dollars,  or  invest  the  same  in  trust 
for  their  sole  and  separate  use  respectively,  as  they  may  respectively 
direct,  —  and  that  my  said  executors  shall  divide  the  residue  of 
the  moneys  which  may  arise,  as  the  same  shall  be  received  from 
my  literary  works,  equally  among  my  four  daughters  Mrs.  Eliza 
P.  C.  Jones,  Mrs.  Jessie  Ann  Fremont,  Mrs.  Sarah  McD.  Jacob  and 
Mrs.  Susan  T.  Boileau,  or  invest  the  same  in  trust  for  their  sole 
and  separate  use  respectively,  as  they  may  respectively  direct. 

"And  I  hereby  will  and  direct  that  it  shall  be  competent  for 
any  two  of  my  aforesaid  Executors  and  Trustees,  to  do  any  act  in 
relation  to  the  premises  which  the  whole  five  could  do.  In  witness 
whereof  I  have  hereto  set  my  hand  and  seal  this  thirteenth  day  of 
September  in  the  year  eighteen  hundred  and  fifty-seven. 

"  Thomas  H.  Benton.'* 


338      ANCIENT,   CURIOUS,  AND  FAMOUS  WILLS 

Will  of  James  G.  Blaine 

James  G.  Blaine  died  January  27,  1893.  His  will  is  a  brief 
instrument,  and  is  as  follows : 

"I,  James  G.  Blaine  of  Augusta  in  the  State  of  Maine,  at  present 
residing  in  the  City  of  Washington,  D.C.,  being  of  sound  and 
disposing  mind  and  memory  do  make,  publish  and  declare  this  to 
be  my  last  will  and  testament  hereby  revoking  all  former  wills  by 
me  at  any  time  made. 

"1.  I  direct  my  executor  hereinafter  named  to  pay  my  just 
debts  and  funeral  expenses. 

"2.  I  give  and  bequeath  to  my  daughter  Margaret,  to  my  son 
James,  and  to  my  daughter  Harriet,  to  each  the  sum  of  fifty  dollars : 

"3.  I  give  and  bequeath  to  my  grandchildren  Emmons  Blaine, 
Blaine  Coppinger  and  Conor  Coppinger,  to  each  the  sum  of  twenty 
five  dollars : 

"4.  All  the  rest  and  residue  of  my  property,  real,  personal  or 
mixed  wheresoever  situate  which  I  now  own  or  may  hereafter 
acquire  and  of  which  I  shall  die  seized  or  possessed  I  give,  devise 
and  bequeath  absolutely  and  in  fee  simple  to  my  wife  Harriet  S. 
Blaine,  her  heirs  and  assigns  forever : 

"5.  I  name,  constitute  and  appoint  my  said  wife  Harriet  S. 
Blaine,  Executrix  of  this  my  last  will  and  testament,  and  I  request 
that  my  Executrix  be  not  required  to  give  bond  for  the  performance 
of  her  duty  as  such. 

"Witness  my  hand  this  seventh  day  of  January  a.d.  1892. 

"  James  G.  Blaine." 

Will  of  Edwin  T.  Booth 

Edwin  T.  Booth  died  June  7,  1893.     His  will  is  as  follows  : 

"I,  Edwin  Thomas  Booth,  Actor,  do  make,  pubUsh  and  declare 
this  my  last  Will  and  Testament. 

"First :  I  order  and  direct  that  all  my  just  debts  be  paid  as  soon 
after  my  decease  as  may  be  practicable. 

"Second  :  I  give  and  bequeath  to  my  Brother  Joseph  A.  Booth, 
Ten  thousand  ($10,000)  dollars. 

"To  my  niece  Marie  Booth  Douglass,  Ten  thousand  ($10,000) 
dollars. 

"To  my  nieces  and  nephews  Asia,  Clarke  Morgan,  Andrienne 
Clarke,  Junius  B.  Booth,  Sidney  Booth,  Creston  Clarke  and  Wilped 
Clarke,  to  each  Five  thousand  ($5000)  dollars. 

"To  my  Cousins  Charlotte  Mitchell  of  Baltimore  and  Robert 


ANCIENT,   CURIOUS,  AND  FAMOUS  WILLS      339 

Mitchell  of  North  Carohna,  to  each,  Twenty-five  hundred  ($2500) 
dollars. 

*'  To  my  friend  Mrs.  Maria  Anderson,  Five  thousand  ($5000), 
dollars. 

"To  my  friends  John  H.  Magonigle  and  his  wife  Catherine,  to 
each  Ten  thousand  ($10,000)  dollars. 

"To  my  friend  Mrs.  Margaret  Devlin,  a  sister  of  Mrs.  Catherine 
Magonigle  Five  thousand  ($5000)  dollars. 

"To  the  'Actors  Fund,'  the  'Actors  Order  of  Friendship,' 
both  of  the  City  of  New  York,  the  'Actors  Order  of  Friendship' 
of  Philadelphia,  the  'Trustees  of  the  Masonic  Hall  and  Asylum 
Fund  of  New  York'  and  the  'Home  for  Incurables'  at  West 
Farms,  New  York,  to  each.  Five  thousand  ($5000)  dollars. 

"Third.  I  order  and  direct  that  my  Executors  transfer  and 
convey  all  the  rest,  residue  and  remainder  of  my  estate,  real  and 
personal  to  the  Central  Trust  Company  of  New  York,  as  Trustee 
for  the  following  uses  and  purposes :  That  said  Trustee  invest  and 
re-invest  the  same  and  pay  the  income  thereof  to  my  daughter 
Edwina  Booth  Grossmann  during  her  natural  life  and  upon  her  sole 
and  separate  receipt,  and  that  upon  her  decease  the  said  Trustee 
divide  the  said  principal  of  said  Trust  together  with  the  income 
accrued  thereon  into  as  many  parts  as  my  said  daughter  shall 
leave  children  her  surviving,  the  issue  of  any  deceased  child  of 
my  said  daughter  counting  one  in  making  such  division  and  pay  the 
income  of  one  of  such  portions  to  each  of  her  said  children  until 
he  or  she  shall  attain  the  age  of  twenty  one  years,  in  which  event, 
the  principal  of  such  portion  shall  be  paid  to  him  or  her. 

"In  the  event  any  of  her  children  shall  die  before  attaining  the 
age  of  twenty  one  years  without  leaving  issue  the  portion  which 
he  or  she  would  have  received  if  living  at  that  age,  shall  be  divided, 
added  to  and  disposed  of  as  part  of  the  portions  of  the  other  chil- 
dren surviving  or  of  their  issue  if  deceased. 

"The  issue  of  any  deceased  child  of  my  said  daughter  shall  in 
every  event  take  what  its  parent  would  have  taken  if  Uving  at  the 
time  of  the  decease  of  my  daughter. 

"Fourth:  I  authorize  and  empower  my  Executors  or  any  of 
them  who  may  quahfy  as  such  Executors  their  survivor  or  sur- 
vivors, successor  or  successors  to  sell  and  convey  at  Public  Auction 
or  private  sale  and  upon  such  terms  as  they  may  approve  any  or 
all  of  the  real  or  personal  estate  of  which  I  shall  die  possessed 
wheresoever  the  same  may  be  situate. 


340      ANCIENT,   CURIOUS,  AND  FAMOUS  WILLS 

"Fifth:  I  authorize  and  empower  my  Trustee  hereinbefore 
named  or  its  successor  in  said  Trust,  to  hold  and  retain  any 
security,  bonds,  stocks  or  investments  of  which  I  shall  die  pos- 
sessed as  part  of  the  said  Trust  fund  to  be  held  by  it  under  this 
my  Will. 

"Sixth:  I  hereby  nominate  and  appoint  my  friends  Elias  C. 
Benedict,  William  Bispham  and  John  H.  Magonigle,  all  of  New 
York  City,  Executors  of  this  my  last  Will  and  Testament  hereby 
revoking  all  other  and  former  Wills  by  me  made  and  I  request 
that  no  bond  or  other  security  be  required  from  my  said  Executors 
for  the  faithful  performance  of  their  trust. 

"In  Witness  Whereof  I  have  hereunto  signed  my  name  and 
affixed  my  seal  this  Fifteenth  day  of  June  a.d.  1892. 

"  Edwin  T.  Booth." 

Will  of  David  J.  Brewer 

David  J.  Brewer,  late  Chief  Justice  of  the  United  States,  died  on 
March  29,  1910. 

His  will,  together  with  a  codicil  thereto,  is  as  follows  : 

"In  the  name  of  God ;  Amen  — 

"I  David  J.  Brewer  being  of  sound  mind  &  memory  do  make 
publish  &  declare  the  following  to  be  my  last  will  &  testament — 

"Item  First  — 

"  I  give  &  devise  my  home  No.  1923  —  16th  Str.  N.  W.  Washing- 
ton D.C.  to  my  wife  Emma  M.  Brewer  —  the  legal  title  is  now  in 
her  —  Probably  this  is  sufficient,  but  as  most  of  the  cost  was  paid 
by  me,  I  make  this  devise  to  avoid  all  question  — 

"Item  Second  — 

"  I  give  devise  &  bequeath  to  my  daughters  Harriet  B.  Jetraore, 
Henrietta  B.  Karrick  &  Elizabeth  B.  Wells,  share  &  share  alike, 
my  cottage  at  Thompson's  Point  with  all  the  personal  property  in 
or  connected  with  it  —  On  the  35th  anniversary  of  my  marriage 
to  my  then  wife  Louise  L.  Brewer  I  deeded  this  property  to  her  — 
whether  such  a  deed  from  husband  to  wife  is  good  under  the  laws 
of  Vermont  I  do  not  know  &  so  make  this  devise  &  bequest  to  avoid 
all  question  of  our  children's  full  title  — 

"Item  Third  — 

"  I  have  $30,000  life  insurance  which  was  made  payable  to  my 
wife  Louise  L.  Brewer  —  I  find  in  the  several  policies  different 
provisions  respecting  the  beneficiaries  in  case  of  her  death  —  To 


ANCIENT,  CURIOUS,  AND  FAMOUS  WILLS      341 

carry  out  the  intent  with  which  these  poHcies  were  taken  out  I 
give  &  bequeath  to  my  said  daughters,  share  and  share  aUke,  those 
poHcies  &  all  sums  which  may  be  due  thereon  —  The  policy  in  the 
N.  Y.  Mutual  provides  for  a  20  year  5  per  ct.  gold  bond  —  I  desire 
that  this  be  taken  out  in  the  name  of  Harriet  B.  Jetmore  &  be  her 
share  in  said  life  insurance — I  prefer  a  registered  bond  if  obtain- 
able— 

"  Item  Fourth  — 

"  I  give  &  bequeath  to  my  wife  Emma  M.  Brewer  all  the  furni- 
ture, including  therein  pictures,  in  my  home,  which  has  been  pur- 
chased since  our  marriage  — 

"Item  Fifth  — 

"  I  give  &  bequeath  all  other  personal  property  to  my  said 
daughters  share  &  share  alike  — 

"  I  appoint  my  wife  Emma  M.  Brewer  &  my  son  in  law  James  L. 
Karrick  to  execute  this  my  will  &  desire  that  no  bonds  be  required 
of  them. 

"  In  witness  whereof  I  have  hereto  signed  my  name  this  25th 

day  of  Oct.,  1906.  ,,^  t  r> 

•^  David  J.  Brewek. 

CODICIL   TO   THE   FOREGOING   WILL 

"I  David  J.  Brewer  the  testator  in  said  will  attach  thereto  & 
make  the  following  additional  provisions  — 

"Item  (1)  The  gold  watch  given  me  by  the  lawyers  of  Leaven- 
worth County,  I  give  unto  my  grandson  David  Brewer  Karrick 
—  the  watch  given  me  by  my  wife  Emma  M.  Brewer  I  give  to  her 
grandnephew  David  Brewer  Hall — the  ring  I  wear  on  the  little  fin- 
ger of  my  left  hand  given  me  by  my  wife  Louise  L.  Brewer  I  give  to 
my  grandson  David  Brewer  Jetmore — my  scrap  books  &  the  books 
edited  by  me  as  well  as  the  bound  volumes  of  my  talks  &  writings 
I  give  to  my  daughter  Etta  B,  Karrick  —  the  Bible  given  me  by  my 
wife  Louise  L.  Brewer  I  give  to  my  granddaughter  Harriet  Louise 
Jetmore  —  Out  of  my  other  personal  property  I  wish  my  executor 
&  executrix  to  select  for  each  of  my  grandchildren  not  specifically 
named  herein  some  suitable  article  as  a  special  gift  from  grand- 
father — 

"Item  (2)  I  wish  to  be  buried  in  Leavenworth  by  the  side  of  my 
wife  Louise  L.  Brewer  — 

"Item  (3)  In  case  of  the  death  of  my  wife  Emma  M.  Brewer 
before  my  own  death  then  I  direct  that  all  the  gifts  to  her  are  an- 


342      ANCIENT,   CURIOUS,  AND  FAMOUS  WILLS 

nulled  &  revoked  &  my  entire  property  with  the  special  bequests 

excepted  I  give  devise  &  bequeath  to  my  daughters  share  &  share 

alike  —  In  witness  whereof  I  have  hereto  set  my  hand  &  seal  this 

7th  day  of  March  1908.  «„  _    „ 

•^  David  J.  Brewer. 

Will  of  Aaron  Burr 

Aaron  Burr  died  September  14,  1836.  His  will  is  in  part  as 
follows : 

"I,  Aaron  Burr,  of  the  City  of  New  York,  now  residing  at  number 
23  Nassau  Street,  do  make  and  publish  this  my  Last  Will  and 
Testament  as  follows :  I  appoint  Matthew  L.  Davis,  Peter  Town- 
send,  and  Henry  P.  Edwards,  Attorney  and  Counsellor  at  Law,  my 
Executors.  I  give  the  charge  and  custody  of  my  private  papers 
to  the  said  M.  L.  Davis,  to  be  disposed  of  at  his  discretion.  I  pro- 
pose in  a  Codicil  to  be  hereunto  annexed  to  give  a  list  of  my  debts, 
and  to  point  out  the  resources  from  which  they  are  to  be  paid,  and 
I  authorize  my  said  Executors  to  settle  all  suits  and  claims  which 
I  may  have  against  any  person  whatsoever,  and  to  give  receipts 
and  acquittances  thereupon,  and  to  sell  any  land  or  real  estate  to 
which  I  may  be  entitled  at  the  time  of  my  death,  and  to  give  deeds 
therefor.  And  I  do  hereby  revoke  and  annul  all  former  and  other 
Wills  and  Testaments  by  me  made.  In  Testimony  whereof  I  have 
hereunto  subscribed  my  name,  this  twenty-first  day  of  A